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Saturday, 16 January 2016

Update: Burkina Faso & US Security Forces Attack Hostage Takers at Hotel


Security forces in Burkina Faso launched an assault against gunmen who took hostages at the Splendid Hotel in the nation's capital, Burkinabe state broadcaster RTB said early Saturday.
Gunfire was no longer heard about an hour after the soldiers attacked, an RTB reporter at the scene said, but authorities did not immediately say if the siege had ended.
At least 20 people were wounded, RTB said. There were no immediate details about deaths but several bodies were seen outside the hotel, Burkinabe police said.
About 15 hostages were freed by security forces, RTB reported, including the country's public sector minister.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb immediately claimed credit for the assault that had similarities to a November hotel attack in nearby Mali that left 22 dead, reported a Mauritania-based news agency. CNN could not independently confirm that claim.
    The violence started Friday night when an undetermined number of gunmen stormed the Cappuccino café-restaurant while about 100 people were inside, the owner told RTB.
    The gunmen next invaded the hotel across the street, took hostages and exchanged fire with security forces, the gendarmerie said, according to RTB. The hotel is a favorite of Western diplomats and business people.
    Witnesses said the attackers wore turbans, were "light-skinned" and spoke a language not native to Burkina Faso, a former French colony in West Africa.
    Burkinabe security forces, with support from American and French troops, circled the hotel for several hours before attacking.
    At least one U.S. soldier was on the scene, a U.S. defense official told CNN. France requested immediate support from U.S. soldiers and a U.S. drone will be flown over the scene to provide surveillance, the official said.
    Source: CNN
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