The Latest: France vows to keep fighting extremist violence
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — The Latest on the attack in Burkina Faso’s capital (all times local):
French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken with the president of Burkina Faso to express his condolences and support after an attack in that nation’s capital.
Islamic extremists struck the French Embassy and army headquarters in coordinated attacks of gunfire and explosives Friday in Burkina Faso’s capital, killing eight people and wounding more than 80 others. All eight militants were slain by security forces.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday that Macron expressed “our determination to fight unforgivingly against these terrorists who want to destabilize the Sahel and ... pose a danger to our own security interests.”
Le Drian said the French leader said “this fight must continue.” He did not talk about any French military reinforcements to the city.
The violence, which the government labeled a terrorist attack, marked a further deterioration in Ouagadougou’s perilous security situation.
France’s foreign minister said his country is as determined as ever to fight extremist violence in Africa after the French Embassy was targeted in Burkina Faso.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday in televised remarks that “they targeted France, which is linked to Burkina Faso in its fight against terrorism.”
He said the embassy was attacked around 10:15 a.m. but gendarmes and troops repelled the attack and no one in the embassy was hurt. He said one gendarme and all four attackers were killed in the operation.
He said at the same time there was an attack by a different group on the Burkina army headquarters where there were “numerous victims” and serious damage.
The French Foreign Ministry said the situation around the embassy in Ouagadougou has now “stabilized.”
The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened a preliminary investigation into attempted murder because the French Embassy was among targets of the attack, a judicial official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to be publicly named. The investigation will seek to determine the perpetrators and reason for the attack.
Burkina Faso’s army health director general, Col. Amade Kafando, says that at least 90 people have been wounded after the attacks by extremists in the capital.
Communications minister Remy Danguinou said the death toll is likely to climb.
Windows are broken at the military’s joint chief of staff building and several others around it.
Burkina Faso’s communications minister says eight Islamic extremists, and seven Burkina Faso soldiers have been killed in the attacks on the French Embassy and army headquarters in Ouagadougou, the capital.
Communications minister Remy Danguinou said five of the extremists were killed near the embassy and three others near the army head of state offices. He said that the death toll for the soldiers is likely to climb, as many others were seriously wounded.
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says the attacks targeted several places in Ouagadougou Friday including the French embassy.
Le Drian says in a written statement that Burkina Faso security forces are mobilized against the assailants, with the support of French security forces, to “reduce the threat.”
He says a crisis center has been set up at the ministry in Paris to monitor the situation.
Safety instructions are being sent to the French citizens in Ouagadougou. “Their safety is my priority,” Le Drian said.
12: 53 p.m.
Burkina Faso’s communications minister says four Islamic extremists have been killed after they attacked the French Embassy in Ouagadougou, the capital.
Communications minister Remy Danguinou confirmed that Islamic extremists attacked both the French Embassy and the Burkina Faso army headquarters in Ouagadougou. He said it was not clear how many militants staged the assaults in both locations and others may be on the run.
He said gunfire and explosions had subsided and people were seen leaving offices near the attacks.
Souro Sanou, an official at the hospital in the capital, said that several people have been wounded. He was not able to give further casualty details.
French authorities are on alert and warning of gunfire in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou and telling French citizens to stay inside after an apparent Islamic extremist attack.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office says he is following the situation closely. The attack comes three months after Macron visited the former French colony.
France’s foreign ministry doesn’t confirm whether or not the French embassy and the French Institute in the city were targeted.
The French embassy in Ouagadougou writes on its Facebook page “there is no certainty at the moment” about the places that where targeted.
Several messages published on the foreign ministry’s website and Twitter accounts urge French citizen to avoid the city center, stay off the streets and remain in a safe place.
Burkina Faso’s police director general says the capital is being attacked by suspected Islamic extremists after explosions and gunfire were heard in Ouagadougou early Friday.
Jean Bosco Kienou told The Associated Press Friday “the form is that of a terrorist attack.”
Gunshots became intermittent and helicopters are now flying near the French Embassy.
Heavy smoke is seen coming from the army joint chief of staff’s office in Ouagadougou. Witness said loud explosions were still heard around the army headquarters.
Witnesses at the national television office which faces the French Embassy said that five people came in a pick-up truck in front of the embassy and started shooting after saying “Allahu Akhbar” and then set fire to the truck and began shooting.
Gunfire and explosions rocked Burkina Faso’s capital Friday, by the army headquarters and in a neighborhood that houses embassies, the offices of the prime minister and the United Nations.
Plumes of black smoke could be seen above the army offices in western Ouagadougou where police and gendarmerie responded. Barricades were erected to keep people from that area and from the French Embassy and the prime minister’s office in the eastern part of the city center where gunfire and smoke were reported.
Witnesses told The Associated Press that they saw five attackers in a pickup truck heading toward the French Embassy. They said the attackers left the truck, set fire to the embassy and started shooting.
Associated Press writer Carley Petesch in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.
This series has been corrected to show that the name of Burkina Faso’s communications minister is spelled Danguinou.