New security measures in Burkina capital after attacks

Ouagadougou - Burkina Faso has put in place new security measures in the capital Ouagadougou following attacks by suspected jihadists last month that killed 19 people, the security minister said Monday.

"We have taken steps on Kwame N'Krumah (the capital's main avenue), you will see permanent measures, both night and day, to minimise a lot of risks" of jihadist attacks, said Simon Compaore after a closed door meeting with residents and the owners of shops and businesses on the avenue.

The minister said that the "strong measures" were being taken to make sure the avenue is more secure.

On August 13, the capital's main street was the target of an attack when two gunmen opened fire at a popular Turkish restaurant killing 19 people and wounding 21 others.

While the minister did not specify the measures taken, locals described to AFP a beefed-up security operation in the heart of the capital in recent days, including foot and pickup patrols by police along with identity controls on the main avenue.

"Since Thursday we have police and gendarmes who patrol in both directions on the avenue and who position themselves in front of some hot spots," said Zeinatou Kontogomde, owner of a nightclub hit by an attack in January 2016.

That attack had also targeted a restaurant and hotels in Ouagadougou leaving 30 dead and 71 injured. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) claimed responsibility.

The landlocked country shares a largely lawless border region with Mali, where jihadist fighters frequently ambush security forces.

Burkina is one of several West African nations since 2015 that have seen a series of jihadist attacks targeting spots popular with foreigners and locals.

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