This story is over 5 years old.


Burkina Faso capital rocked by embassy "terror attack"

"Stay hidden where you are.”
Getty Images

Multiple explosions rocked Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou Friday, with armed attacks reported near the army headquarters, the prime minister’s office and the neighborhood housing foreign embassies.

Five attackers left a pickup and set fire to the French embassy before opening fire on the building, according to witnesses speaking to the Associated Press.

“Attack under way at the French Embassy and French Institute. Stay hidden where you are,” the embassy said in a now-deleted post on its Facebook page. An official in Paris confirmed to Reuters that the attack was happening along with another attack on the army headquarters.


The French ambassador to the region, Jean-Marc Châtaigner, called it a “terrorist attack.”

French security forces have been stationed in Burkina Faso, a former French colony, since 2010 to combat jihadist violence.

Earlier in the day, witnesses told Reuters that masked men had attacked the army headquarters, which is not far from the French embassy, setting off explosives before opening fire.

The national police have confirmed attacks are taking place near the prime minister’s office and have advised residents to steer clear of the area.

The U.S. embassy tweeted that it “has received reports of shooting in downtown Ouagadougou. Avoid the area. Look for a secure shelter.”

Social media users posted images of black smoke coming from numerous buildings across the capital.

It is unclear at this stage who is responsible for the attack, though Islamist militants have gained a strong foothold in the region in recent years, with groups targeting foreigners in Ouagadougou.

Suspected jihadists killed at least 18 people August during a raid on a restaurant in the capital. In Jan. 2016, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel in the city that left 30 people dead.

Cover image: People watch as black smoke rises as the capital of Burkina Faso came under multiple attacks on March 2, 2018, targeting the French embassy, the French cultural centre and the country's military headquarters. (AHMED OUOBA/AFP/Getty Images)