Al-Qaeda affiliate claims deadly Burkina Faso attacks

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. Witness said loud explosions were still heard around the army headquarters.

The location of the meeting was changed at the last moment, Sawadogo said, adding the room they had been due to use at the military headquarters was blown up.

"Our country was once again the target of dark forces", Burkinabe President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said in a statement.

"In these hard moments, I would like to reaffirm to Africa and the entire world my unshakeable faith in the capacity of the Burkinabe people to preserve their dignity and ferociously oppose their enemies", Kabore said. Numerous attackers were wearing army uniforms, according to witnesses, and some were from Burkina Faso, including two men arrested in connection with the attack, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the press. "We were really afraid", and "the traffic was dense", she said.

The French ambassador to Burkina Faso, Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes, expressed solidarity with Burkina Faso, saying: "Our political objective does not change, it remains the same: That of being on the side of Burkina Faso in the war against terrorism".

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"It's a big shock to know that the army has been attacked so easily".

The group, a fusion of three Malian jihadist groups with previous al-Qaida links, have been behind several high-profile attacks against civilian and military forces since forming past year.

The embassy initially said on its Facebook page that an attack was underway at the embassy as well as Ouagadougou's French cultural institute. A burned out auto, remained in front of the embassy, which is riddled with bullet holes.

Witnesses say armed men got out of a auto and opened fire on passersby before heading to the embassy at the start of the Friday attack.

Presidential security guards who were manning the roadblock about 1.5 kilometers from the presidential palace, repelled the attack, arresting one assailant while two managed to escape.

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"They went to the French embassy but the situation "was already resolved when they arrived", Steiger said". People ran to the Prime Minister's office. "Their safety is my priority", Le Drian said. "I'm not content because there are a lot of wounded and dead".

The second attack occurred when fighters opened fire on the army headquarters on the other side of town.

The landlocked nation of Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists. Two gendarmes died at the French embassy.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has condemned a series of terrorist attacks in the downtown of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, on Friday, UAE News Agency (WAM) reported. All eight militants were slain by security forces. In Friday's attack the military responded quickly.

Several extremist groups have also vowed to step up the bloodshed in West Africa in response to the recent deployment of the multinational G5 Sahel force.

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  • Ryan Wade