Burkina Faso stunned by another deadly extremist attack

Bilel Diffalah

OUAGADOUGOU, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 18 people and wounded several during a raid on a restaurant in Burkina Faso's capital overnight, but security forces shot dead both attackers and freed people trapped inside the building.

"Looking at the tactics of the assailants, their physical traits, they probably came from northern Mali or closer to the border" with Burkina Faso, an army officer said on condition of anonymity.

"They are confined to one part of the building they attacked".

"The creation of the G5 Sahel Joint Force has the potential to make a significant contribution to efforts already under way to stabilise the region", the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, El-Ghassim Wane, told the 15-member United Nations Security Council in NY on Tuesday.

Sunday's attack on the Aziz Istanbul Restaurant comes barely a year after a similar attack on January 15, 2016.

"We ask our volunteers not to go to places where there are a lot of people, masses of people or where there's a lot of foreigners". "I've been hearing quite a bit of shooting". Gunfire could be heard nearly seven hours after the attack began. A peacekeeper was also killed, a United Nations spokesman in NY said. Other unconfirmed reports said at least one of the dead was French.

BBC News reported that the city center was sealed off by the army during the attack and the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou warned its citizens to avoid the area.

More than 170 people were taken hostage and 30 were killed.

Two Canadians were killed in the attack: Chen, 34, of Ontario, and Bilel Diffalah, a volunteer for a Quebec-based anti poverty group.

"The Ministry, on behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, therefore conveys heartfelt condolences to the Government and people of Burkina Faso and the government and people of those countries whose nationals were also victims".

A multinational force run by African nations to target jihadist forces in the Sahel region has been established, but it will not be operational until later this year.

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