4 jihadis, 28 others dead in hotel siege


Associated Press

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso

The Al-Qaida fighters who stormed a popular hangout in Burkina Faso’s capital at dinnertime came with a mission to kill as many people as possible, firing at people as they moved to a nearby hotel and setting the cafe ablaze, survivors and officials said Saturday. When the gunfire stopped after a siege of more than 12 hours, at least 28 people had been slain in an unprecedented attack on this West African country long spared the jihadist violence experienced by its neighbors.

Like the extremist attacks from Paris to Jakarta, the assailants in the Friday evening attack targeted an area where people from different nationalities gathered to enjoy life. Here in Ouagadougou, the victims had been grabbing a cold drink outside or staying at one of the capital’s few upscale hotels. In this city with a large aid-worker presence, the attackers sought to shoot as many non-Muslims as possible, screaming “Allahu akhbar” (Arabic for God is great) as they entered.

An audio tape later released by the al-Qaida group claiming responsibility for the carnage was titled: “A Message Signed with Blood and Body Parts.”

Authorities said the four known attackers – all killed by security forces – had come in a vehicle with plates from neighboring Niger. At least two of them were women, and one was of African descent.

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