Burkina Faso attack: Hostages freed in Ouagadougou hotel siege

About 30 hostages have been freed at a hotel attacked by suspected Islamist militants in Burkina Faso’s capital but at least 20 people are feared dead.

Gunmen stormed Ouagadougou’s Splendid Hotel and a nearby cafe in an attack apparently involving car bombs.

Communications Minister Remis Dandjinou said the security forces operation at the hotel was continuing.

New exchanges of fire were reported on Saturday morning by journalists at the scene in Ouagadougou.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has said it carried out the attack, according to the SITE extremist monitoring group.

A member of the Burkina Faso government, Minister of Public Works Clement Sawadogo, is among those freed at the hotel, Mr Dandjinou said.

Thirty-three people were in hospital receiving treatment, he added.

French special forces and Burkinabe troops were involved in rescuing the hostages from the hotel, which is used by UN staff and Westerners, Mr Dandjinou said.

The total number of those who had lost their lives is not yet known, he added.

Hospital chief Robert Sangare quoted survivors as saying at least 20 people had died in the initial attack, before the security forces began their assault on the hotel.

Later, Interior Minister Simon Compaore said 10 bodies had been found on the terrace of the nearby Cappuccino cafe.

French President Francois Hollande condemned what he described as an “odious and cowardly attack”.

SITE said the al-Murabitoun group, which reportedly merged with AQIM recently, was involved.