Islamic militants storm luxury hotel in Burkina Faso
by Leigh Jones
Posted 1/15/16, 09:50 pm
An al-Qaeda affiliate known as AQIM claimed responsibility for an attack tonight on a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso popular with Westerners.
Militants stormed the 147-room Splendid hotel and adjacent cafe, taking hostages amid gunfire and explosions. When government forces entered the building to end the standoff, they accidentally set it on fire.
At least 20 people are thought to have been killed, although exact numbers have not yet been released.
The militant group claimed responsibility for the attack in an online post that said its fighters were entrenched in clashes with “the enemies of the religion.”
Today’s attack mirrors a November incident in neighboring Mali, in which militants attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, killing 20 people. AQIM also claimed responsibility for that attack, which lasted seven hours.
Burkina Faso is a Muslim-majority country, but it has faced recent instability following a popular uprising in late 2014. In September, members of the presidential guard launched a coup, and a new government came to power in November.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.