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‘Seventeen dead’ in Burkina Faso attack

Police are seen on a street following an attack by gunmen on a restaurant in Ouagadougou, Burkina FasoImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Police and an armoured vehicle were at the scene after gunmen attacked a restaurant

Seventeen people have been killed and eight wounded in a “terrorist attack” in the centre of the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, the government says.

Witnesses were quoted as saying that three gunmen opened fire on customers seated outside a hotel and restaurant.

The city centre has been sealed off by the army, and the US embassy in Ouagadougou has warned its citizens to avoid the area.

A jihadist attack on a cafe nearby left 30 people dead in January last year.

There are fears that the attack is the work of one of the affiliates of al-Qaeda that are active in the Sahel region, the BBC’s Alex Duval Smith reports.

Burkina Faso’s Communication Minister Remis Dandjinou said it was unclear how many assailants had been involved.

“They are confined to one part of the building they attacked. Security and elite forces are conducting an operation,” he said on television.

The shooting began shortly after 21:00 (21:00 GMT) on Sunday on Ouagadougou’s busy Kwame Nkrumah Avenue.

The Aziz Istanbul Restaurant appear to have been at the centre of the shooting.

“The attack claimed 17 victims, their nationalities are yet to be confirmed, and eight injured,” said a government statement quoted by the AFP news agency.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A wounded restaurant customer sits on the ground after the attack

A hospital in the city said that one of those killed was Turkish.

The attack is similar to one in January 2016, when the Splendid Hotel and the nearby Cappuccino restaurant, also on Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, were targeted.

Over 170 people were taken hostage and 30 were killed. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for that attack.

Burkina Faso is part of the Sahel region, which includes Mali where Islamist groups have been active since 2012.

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