French PM says 6 attacked Burkina Faso hotel

2016-01-20 20:29
Aftermath of an Al-Qaeda attack on a top hotel in Burkina Faso. (Issouf Sanoga, AFP)

Aftermath of an Al-Qaeda attack on a top hotel in Burkina Faso. (Issouf Sanoga, AFP)

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Ouagadougou - France's prime minister said three attackers remain at large Wednesday following the attacks in Burkina Faso's capital, though authorities there insist that all those who carried out the assault had been shot dead.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said six people carried out the deadly attacks on the café and hotel in Burkina Faso's capital, and three are still on the loose.

But Burkina Faso authorities on Wednesday insisted that only three jihadis carried out the attacks and were killed, although more accomplices are being sought.

At least 30 people were killed in last Friday's attacks on targets in Ouagadougou frequented by Westerners.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told the French National Assembly on Tuesday that "of the six attackers, three were killed and three are still being sought." He didn't elaborate. He also said that three attacks in Burkina Faso that day were "distinct but certainly coordinated."

An Australian couple was kidnapped in the country's north and two were killed in an attack on a district administrator's escort, he said.

Burkina Faso army spokesman Guy Herve Ye said the army is searching for other suspects and perhaps that is what the prime minister is referring to.

"They were only three who conducted the raid. Our intelligence and videos show it," he said, adding that the attackers were well trained.

Ongoing investigation

Burkina Faso's Security Minister Simon Compaore said on Tuesday that several people have been detained and questioned but he declined to give further details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Questions have been raised about the length of time it took for authorities to find the attackers, who hid at the neighbouring Taxi Brousse restaurant.

Within 30 minutes the president of Burkina Faso had asked the French ambassador for help, according to a French official who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the press. It would be four more hours, though, before French special forces arrived at the scene to help flush out the attackers and Burkina Faso's military was awaiting their help.

French and Burkina Faso forces then stormed the Splendid Hotel, thinking it was the main target, but later shot down three attackers at the nearby Taxi Brousse. French experts have been carrying out forensic investigations at the sites.

The odour of the attackers' dead bodies still lingered from that restaurant Wednesday, as investigations continued.

Read more on:    burkina faso  |  west africa

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