Over 20 Dead in Siege at Burkina Faso Hotel

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – At least 20 people died and others were taken hostage when gunmen stormed a hotel in the capital city of Burkina Faso, a hospital director said, an attack for which al-Qaeda terrorist group claimed responsibility.

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Security forces began an assault to reclaim the Splendid Hotel in the early hours of Saturday and entered its lobby, part of which was on fire, a Reuters witness said. 

About 30 hostages including the labor minister were freed from the hotel, said Minister of Communications Remis Dandjinou. No one has said publicly how many hostages might be in the hotel.

It was the first time militants have carried out an assault in the capital of Burkina Faso and comes as a setback to efforts by African governments, France and the United States to prevent attacks that have destabilized the region.

It follows a raid on a luxury hotel in Mali last November in which two attackers killed 20 people, including citizens of Russia, China and the United States. There have been many attacks by militants in other countries in West Africa in recent years and the vast majority of those killed have been Africans.

Robert Sangare, director of Ouagadougou's university hospital center, said that among an initial batch of 15 people brought to hospital some had bullet wounds while others had injuries from falls.

Patients saw around 20 bodies, and one European woman being treated at the hospital said the attackers appeared to target Westerners, said Sangare, who had spoken to the patients.

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