US checking on citizens after Burkina attack

A survivor of an assault by al-Qaeda linked gunmen in Ouagadougou. (Nabila el Hadad, AFP)
A survivor of an assault by al-Qaeda linked gunmen in Ouagadougou. (Nabila el Hadad, AFP)

Washington - The United States was checking on the safety of its citizens in Burkina Faso on Saturday after jihadist gunmen attacked a Ouagadougou hotel popular with Western expatriates.

With soldiers still hunting for surviving attackers, a spokesperson for the State Department said all the US ambassador's staff were accounted for.

"The United States strongly condemns the attack in Ouagadougou," spokesperson John Kirby said.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims during this senseless assault on innocent people.

"We can confirm that all chief of mission personnel are accounted for. Our embassy in Ouagadougou is making every effort to account for US citizens in the city."

Burkinabe troops backed by French special forces responded when gunmen from he al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group attacked the four-star Splendid Hotel.

At least 20 people were killed and dozens of hostages were freed during the fighting.

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