; Burkina Faso: jihadist target since 2015 – The Citizen

Burkina Faso: jihadist target since 2015

Burkina Faso: jihadist target since 2015

Burkina Faso has faced an insurgency involving various jihadist groups since 2015, with brazen attacks in its capital Ouagadougou and the northern desert region of the country.

On Friday, gunmen launched an attack on the French embassy and the country’s military HQ that left dozens of dead or injured.

Here is an overview of other past attacks in the country.

– Strikes on the capital –

Ouagadougou has suffered a number of attacks by radical Islamist militants, including an assault on the Splendid Hotel and a cafe in January 2016 which left 30 people dead, around half of them foreign nationals.

The assault lasted about 12 hours before being ended by Burkina Faso armed forces backed by French troops.

Among the dead were nationals of Canada, France, Portugal, Switzerland and Ukraine. Around 70 people were injured.

The attack was claimed by the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Murabitoun group, which was led by one-eyed Algerian jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

His death has been claimed many times but it has not been confirmed by the US.

In August 2017, two young gunmen opened fire on people at a Turkish restaurant just metres away from the Splendid Hotel.

Nineteen people were killed, including at least eight foreigners, and dozens injured at the Aziz Istanbul restaurant.

There was no claim of responsibility.

– Northern instability –

Northern Burkina Faso, which borders Mali and Niger and is on the edge of the unstable Sahel region, has seen an increase in attacks and kidnappings since 2015, mostly targeting security forces.

Authorities say 133 people have been killed in 80 attacks, as the under-equipped security forces battle to assert themselves.

The Ansarul Islam jihadist group, led by a radical preacher from Burkina Faso who experts say wants to create an Islamist “kingdom”, has claimed some of the strikes.

They include an attack in December 2016 on a battalion of anti-terrorist forces stationed in Nassoumbou, near the Mali border, that left 12 dead.

On 3 March 2017, a school director and a villager in a Burkina Faso province on the border with Mali were killed in a suspected attack by jihadists.

Four days earlier public buildings were also attacked in Soum province. One woman was wounded.

In October 2015, three police officers were killed in western Burkina Faso when their barracks were attacked by “about 50” assailant in the district of Samorogouan.

Security officials blamed jihadists for the attack.

Analysts say the violence has spilled into the region from Mali after jihadist groups there came under pressure from French-led military operations which began in 2013.

Five Sahel countries — Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso — have joined together in a internationally backed “G5 Sahel” force to tackle terror groups in the region.

 

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