At least 18 people, including eight foreigners, were killed during a suspect attack by Al-Qaeda fighters in a Turkish restaurant in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital.
The attack is the latest in West Africa targeting popular tourist destinations in the volatile region, where Al-Qaeda in the Maghrib has footprints.
Many of the victims were children dining with their parents. At least 22 people were wounded during the attack. Five soldiers were among the wounded.
Sunday’s late night attack left seven Burkinabes, a Frenchman, a Canadian woman, two Kuwaiti women and male victims from Senegal, Niger, Libanon Turkey dead.
Two of the attackers were killed by security forces in the assault that started around 9 p.m. Sunday at the upscale Aziz Istanbul restaurant.
The suspected terrorists drove on motorcycles and began shooting indiscriminately into the crowd with AK47s. Authorities said there were at least four assailants.
Burkina Faso’s special forces were engaged in an exchange of gunfire going into the wee hours of Monday morning. About 40 people were freed in the counter assault.
The restaurant is only a few hundred meters from a hotel and cafe targeted last year in an attack that left 30 people dead and 71 others wounded.
Burkina Faso shares its northern land border with Mali, which has been battling Al-Qaeda linked fighters with the help of French and UN troops.
Terrorism in this part of African is increasingly homegrown. A similar attack in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast left at least 19 people dead and an assault on a military base in Burkina Faso left nearly a dozen soldiers killed.