Death toll in Burkina Faso hotel attack reaches 29, 176 rescued

  • AFP, Ouagadougou
  • Updated: Jan 17, 2016 11:05 IST
A soldier stands guard outside the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on Saturday after security forces retook the hotel from al Qaeda extremists who seized it in an assault that killed over two dozen people . (REUTERS)

The death toll in an attack by extremists on Hotel Splendid in Burkina Faso’s capital rose to 29 on Saturday, with around 30 injured, the country’s security minister Simon Compaore said.

The bodies of three jihadists had been identified. All three were men, the minister said, adding that they were “very young”. The previous death toll in the incident overnight Friday to Saturday had put the number of dead at 26, from 18 different nationalities.

“Those who have seen them believe they were very young, the oldest no older than 26,” said Compaore, adding that the men had arrived to unleash the carnage in vehicles registered in neighbouring Niger.

A security source had earlier said there had been at least four attackers, including two women.

Emergency workers remove a corpse in a body bag from the Splendid Hotel. (REUTERS)

Most of the victims were Westerners, according to a source close to the investigation, who added that at least five Burkinabe nationals were also among the dead.

Switzerland’s foreign ministry confirmed that two of its citizens were killed when the jihadists struck a restaurant opposite the four-star hotel where the attackers holed up. France has also confirmed the attack claimed the lives of two of its citizens.

Compaore said 176 people had been rescued. “Most have been able to leave after being questioned,” he added.

The gunmen attacked the Splendid hotel and the Cappuccino restaurant opposite, both popular with Westerners, on Friday evening, sparking a standoff with security forces that lasted until Saturday morning.

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