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In Burkina Faso, explosions and shooting: attacked the French Embassy

04 March 2018

At least 28 people were killed as an armed group attacked Burkina Faso's military headquarters and the French embassy, the government said, adding that six assailants were also killed.

Heavy smoke rose from the army joint chief of staff's office, where witnesses reported loud explosions.

Burkina Faso's communications minister says four Islamic extremists have been killed after they attacked the French Embassy in Ouagadougou, the capital.

The embassy is urging people to stay "confined."

The U.S. Embassy in the city has advised people to seek shelter.

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PREMIUM TIMES understands that Burkinabe soldiers have largely contained the attack as at Friday evening and have taken charge of the streets of Ouagadougou.

No group claimed responsibility for Friday's attacks.

On February 21, two members of the French counter terrorism force were killed by a landmine near Mali's border with Niger and Burkina Faso.

But gunfire erupted again later in the day at the country's military headquarters in western Ouagadougou, where the other attackers were killed.

Three security sources, two in France and one in West Africa, told AFP that at least 28 people were killed in the attack on the military headquarters alone.

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But there are numerous other Islamist groups based in the region and militants have carried out attacks in several major West African cities in the past few years. But the terror threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly homegrown, experts say. His association, Ansarul Islam, is considered a terrorist group by Burkina Faso's government. Forces backed by the French military have failed to capture Dicko.

Five countries - Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania - launched a new task force past year to tackle Islamist militants in the arid Sahel region, to which worldwide donors have committed $500 million US.

With him gone, these trade-offs are bound to dry out, leaving those elements without any serious incentives to stop them becoming the country's destabilization force. In response to the new violence in eastern Burkina Faso, troops from Burkina Faso and nearby Mali and Niger have increased patrols.

During the 2016 assault, security forces waited for hours before trying to intervene.

The Burkina Faso government said at least eight soldiers were killed as well as eight assailants - four at the embassy and four at the military headquarters.

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Associated Press writers Carley Petesch and Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal, and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.

In Burkina Faso, explosions and shooting: attacked the French Embassy