Security forces battle gunmen at hotel in Burkina Faso capital

A general view of Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou is seen in this Sept. 24, 2012 file photo. (Reuters)

Security forces in Burkina Faso battled suspected Islamist fighters outside the Splendid Hotel in the capital's business district on Friday, gendarmes and witnesses said.

The gunmen stormed the hotel, burning cars outside and firing in the air to drive back crowds before security forces arrived, prompting an intense exchange of gunfire.

A Reuters witness saw gunmen emerge from the hotel and fire into the air to keep crowds away. A vehicle carrying security personnel arrived and shortly afterwards and intense gun battle began.

Burkina Faso has endured bouts of political turmoil since Oct. 2014 when veteran President Blaise Compaore was overthrown in a popular protest, but has been largely spared violence by Islamist militants who have staged attacks in neighboring Mali.

Two militants killed 20 people from nations including Russia, China and the United States at a luxury hotel in Mali's capital on Nov. 20, 2015, before being killed by the security forces.

Three Islamist groups including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed that attack, the most prominent by militants who are based in the north of the country and have staged a series of attacks over the last year.


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49