The attack lasted about seven hours
An attack on a restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou that left 18 people dead ended on Monday after security forces killed two gunmen and took control of the neighbourhood.
Information Minister Remi Dandjinou said the two attackers were killed after the last shots from the exchange of fire were heard in the early morning hours.
At least 10 people were injured when unidentified assailants opened fire on a hotel and a restaurant in Ouagadougou late Sunday, Dandjinou said. The attack lasted about seven hours.
Among the injured were three Burkinabe security forces, a spokesman of the national gendarmerie told dpa. One of them was in critical condition.
Dandjinou said he could not exclude a terrorist attack.
The nationality of the attackers were unknown Monday, the minister added.
A government delegation including Prime Minister Paul Kaba Thieba arrived at the scene of the attack on Monday to assess the situation.
The neighbourhood around the hotel and restaurant remained cordoned off, as security forces were searching for two other assailants, Radio France Internationale reported.
Shots had been heard until the early morning hours from Hotel Bravia and a Turkish restaurant named Istanbul, located on Avenue Kwame N’krumah, witnesses told dpa.
The victims were believed to be of several nationalities.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that one Turkish citizen was killed and another injured, adding that it strongly condemns the incident.
A French citizen was also among the dead, the Foreign Ministry said in Paris. French prosecutors launched a murder investigation, a judicial source said.
President Emmanuel Macron condemned the attack and hailed the “effective mobilization” of local security forces, the Elysee said, adding that he would speak to his Burkinabe counterpart Roch Marc Christian Kabore later in the day “to evaluate the situation.”
The French government advised its citizens to avoid the centre of Ouagadougou.
French troops based in neighbouring Mali work with Burkinabe and other regional security forces to fight jihadists groups in the Sahel region.
France, the former colonial power, is also backing a joint force established by regional states in July that focuses especially on fighting extremist groups in the Burkina Faso-Mali-Niger border region.
Burkina Faso has been increasingly exposed to Islamist violence emanating from Mali, confirmed Sean Smith, an analyst with security consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.
“Burkina Faso contributes more troops than any other West African nation to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, ensuring it is a major target,” said Smith.
“The attack illustrates that the threat of terrorism now looms over most of the Sahel region, having previously been largely confined to northern Mali,” Smith added.
Sunday’s attack comes 19 months after about 30 people were killed when Islamist extremists attacked a cafeteria located on the same street in the Burkinabe capital.
“Attacking soft targets is an easy route to instil fear into millions of people,” said Smith, adding that attacks on civilians generating more international media coverage than attacks on soldiers.