At Least 27 People Killed, 33 Injured in Hotel Siege in Burkina Faso
T he overnight siege of the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou by extremists reportedly linked to al-Qaida ended earlier today when four jihadist attackers — who killed at least 23 other people from as many as 18 different countries — were killed by security forces from Burkina Faso and France, which freed at least 126 people, according to this article written by Brahima Ouedraogo for the Associated Press.
“Gunfire ramped up early Saturday as gendarme and military forces fought to take back the building which had been blackened by a fire during the assault. Burned cars and motorbikes and overturned chairs and shards of glass lay scattered near the hotel. Onlookers were kept far away from the fighting that continued into daylight.”
An estimated 33 people were injured during the attack, where at least two of the Islamic extremists who stormed the hotel and a nearby cafe on the night of Friday, January 15, 2016, shouting Allahu akhbar — which is Arabic for “God is great” — were reportedly female.
Connection With Hotel Siege on Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali
This attack was purportedly launched by the same extremists who were responsible for a similar violent siege at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Bamako in Mali on Friday, November 20, 2015 in which 170 people were held hostage; and at least 20 people were killed. The dozens of French security forces which assisted in this operation to end the siege at the Splendid Hotel had arrived overnight from Mali. As with the incident in Mail, responsibility for the siege of this hotel property was claimed by a representative of al-Qaida.
A Little About Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is a predominantly Muslim country which had for years basically been spared from violence carried out by Islamic extremist groups who were abducting foreigners for ransom in neighboring Mali and Niger, according to the aforementioned article — until a Romanian national was kidnapped in an attack this past April that was supposedly the first of its kind in this country. Burkina Faso has also experienced significant political turmoil since Blaise Compaoré resigned as its longtime president in a popular uprising in late 2014 — resulting in six different leaders of this country in West Africa during the past 15 months.
These incidents will not deter me from traveling in the future — that is exactly what the terrorists want: to adversely affect how we live our lives — but that does not mean that I will be careless or unaware of my surroundings as usual.