Our friends were due to stay in this hotel on night of attack

23 dead after hotel attacked by Islamist militants

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The Splendid Hotel, Ouagadougou, in flames during last night’s attack which left 23 dead.

Friend In The West note:

Friends of ours from Northern Ireland were due to stay in the Splendid Hotel last night in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou. They were on their way to ‘Bobo’ where they were planning to spend two weeks helping to build a chemistry lab for a secondary school which they support and also helped to build.

They were just 500 metres from landing at Ouagadougou, when their flight was diverted and they spent the night in Togo. Team leader, Nigel, a member of ChristChurch, Belfast, wrote on his Facebook post on Wednesday, “Looking forward to heading back to Burkina Faso in a couple of days as we continue to try and make things better for these amazing kids.”

Please pray for this team and also their friends who live in Burkina Faso. They had planned to meet up in the foyer of the Splendid hotel on the evening of the attack.  An earlier trip to the country had to be postponed due to a military coup.

At this time we especially remember and pray for the families and friends of all those who have lost loved ones in this atrocity.

BBC Report

At least 23 people of 18 different nationalities are now known to have died after Islamist militants attacked a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso.

Al-Qaeda militants attacked the Splendid Hotel in the West African state’s capital, Ouagadougou, as well as a cafe and another hotel nearby.

Four of the attackers were killed, two of them reportedly women.

The siege at the Splendid was declared over after a joint operation by local and French security forces.

The Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) militant group has said it carried out the attack.

Bukinabe President Roch Kabore, who arrived at the scene on Saturday morning amid tight security, announced the death toll and the liberation of at least 150 hostages.

The French Ambassador, Gilles Thibault, gave a higher death toll of 27 and denied any women were among the militants killed at the hotel.

In November, an AQIM attack on a hotel in the Malian capital Bamako left 19 people dead.

In another development, two foreign citizens, a doctor and his wife, were kidnapped overnight in northern Burkina Faso near the border with Mali, Burkinabe officials said.

At the scene: Thomas Fessy, BBC Dakar correspondent

The area surrounding the Splendid Hotel has been cordoned off. Soldiers can still be seen walking in and out of the building but the siege is now over.

At least three cars parked right outside the front door are completely charred, the remains of another two sit just across the street. Two burnt motorbikes lie in the middle.

The light purple colour of the Splendid Hotel’s front side now looks black, probably caused by the smoke generated by explosions.

, opposite the Splendid, also shows signs of the attack, and the authorities say at least one attacker was killed inside the building.

US hostage describes Burkina terror

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The Splendid Hotel after the attack, 16 JanuaryImage copyrightAnonymous

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A foreign soldier on a rooftop in Ouagadougou, 16 January Image copyrightAnonymous

A Ouagadougou resident sent the BBC photos of the aftermath of the attack on Saturday morning. Here soot can be seen on the side of the Splendid Hotel

A foreign soldier could be seen on the roof of the hotel

Militants attacked the Splendid and the nearby Cappuccino cafe on Friday evening, setting off several explosions. Both places are popular with UN staff and foreigners.

Survivors described how the militants went from person to person, touching their bodies to see if they moved.

“They started shooting, shooting, and everybody lay down on the ground,” said Mariette, who escaped from the hotel with her younger sister.

“As soon as you lifted your head they would shoot straightaway, so you had to pretend to be dead. And they even came to touch our feet to check if we were alive. As soon as you were alive, they would shoot at you.”

Interior Minister Simon Compaore said 10 bodies had been found on the cafe terrace alone. He added that at least 33 hostages had been injured.

As the end of the siege at the Splendid was being announced, reports came in that militants had taken up position at the Yibi hotel, a short distance away. One attacker was killed at the Yibi, officials said later.

Remi Dandjinou, the Burkinabe communications minister, told the BBC earlier that between six and seven militants had attacked the Splendid, adding that they had been staying at the hotel as guests.

Interior Minister Compaore said two black Africans and an Arab were among the militants killed.

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Burkinabe soldiers ringed the Splendid

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French soldiers also took part in the operation

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French police officers helped tend to the wounded

 

Burkina Faso recently held its first presidential election since a coup earlier last year.

That coup toppled long-time leader Blaise Compaore, who had governed for 27 years.

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