Burkina Faso mourns 28 victims of terrorist siege of cafe, hotel

Burkina Faso's government began its first day of national mourning on Sunday as authorities worked to identify the 28 victims killed in a terrorist siege of a popular restaurant and cafe by al-Qaeda militants.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said more than 50 people were seriously injured in the attack, which was launched Friday evening on the Cappuccino Cafe and the nearby Splendid Hotel in the West African country's capital, Ouagadougou.

At least 13 foreigners are believed to be among the victims. Two Swiss nationals, one Dutch national, one American and six Canadians were confirmed killed by their foreign ministries.

French media reported that two French nationals and one Portuguese residing in France were also killed.

Militants belonging to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack, which continued overnight into Saturday with sporadic reports of gunfire and explosions until Burkinabe and French soldiers launched a counter-assault on the hotel.

The attackers first opened fire on the cafe before moving on to the hotel next door, which is popular with foreigners.

Speaking on Saturday evening, President Kabore declared a three-day period of national mourning, saying Burkina Faso had become a first-time victim of "barbaric" terrorist attacks "of unparalleled cowardice".

"We will emerge victorious from the war that [the terrorists] forced on our people and the other nations of the world," Kabore said.

Kabore, elected in November in Burkina Faso's first free elections in 50 years, took office just weeks before the assault.

Burkina Faso, a landlocked country and former French colony, is the largest cotton producer in Africa and is also rich in gold. Despite its resources, it is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Last update: Sun, 17/01/2016 - 15:41
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