Security Advisory: Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (15 Jan 2016)January 16, 2016 in Burkina Faso
- On 15 January, around 19:30 local time, multiple gunmen attacked the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso.
- Three to six gunmen stormed the hotel, taking hostages.
- Officials have reported that 22 people have been killed, including foreign nationals.
- The Cappuccino café-restaurant, located across from the hotel, was also attacked.
- Security forces launched assault to reclaim the hotel in the early hours of Saturday.
- The Burkinabe government has enforced a curfew from 2300 to 0600 UTC.
- Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed responsibility.
On 15 January at approximately 19:30 local time, multiple gunmen attacked the Splendid Hotel, which is frequented by westerners, in Ouagadougou. Witnesses reported that attackers torched cars and fired in the air in a bid to drive people back from the building. There was an intense gun battle that erupted between the gunmen and security forces.
In the early hours of Saturday, security forces launched an assault to reclaim the Splendid Hotel, with witnesses reporting that part of the hotel was on fire. Security operations to drive the militants from the hotel have ended, with Minister of Communications Remis Danjinou reporting that all 126 hostages have been freed. Three jihadists were killed in the operation. Security ministry spokesman Abi Ouattara has confirmed that 22 people have been killed in the terror attacks in Ouagadougou. The fatalities are believed to be from 18 different countries. At least thirty-three people have been taken to hospital with injuries, with patients reporting that the attackers had targeted westerners. At least ten people were killed in the terror attack at the Cappuccino Café. On Saturday morning, a second siege by gunmen was reported to be taking place at a second hotel, the Yibi Hotel. Operations are currently underway with security forces trying to determine if some of the fighters were hiding there.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed responsibility for the attack. It is believed that fighters from al-Qaeda affiliate al-Murabitoun carried out the attack. The group has indicated that it targeted the Splendid Hotel because it is popular with foreigners.
While Burkina Faso has endured bouts of political turmoil in the wake of the overthrow of veteran President Blaise Compaore in October 2014, it has been largely spared of violence carried out by Islamist militants who have staged deadly attacks in neighbouring Mali, which it shares a 600 km (375 mile) border. Friday’s attack will present a significant challenge to President Roch Marc Kabore, who was elected in November 2015 as Burkina Faso’s first new leader in decades.
In December 2015, the French embassy warned its citizens against travelling to a national park in eastern Burkina Faso after reports that jihadists were threatening to kidnap foreigners. In May 2015, Islamist militant group al-Mourabitoun disclosed that it was holding a Romanian man who was kidnapped from a mine in northern Burkina Faso the previous month.
In recent years, Islamist militants have staged deadly attacks in a number of West African states bordering the Sahel. On 20 November 2015, two militants killed twenty people, including foreigners, at the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital. Security forces later killed the two militants. That attack was claimed by al-Mourabitoun and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), with AQIM later calling for similar attacks across the region. In the wake of that attack, officials in the region warned of similar attacks being carried out, including in Burkina Faso.
Embassy Contact Details
Embassy of Canada
316 Professor Joseph KIZERBO ave.
01 P.O. box 548
Hours of operation: Monday to Thursday (8:30 AM to 12PM; 2PM to 4PM); Friday (8:30 AM – 12 PM)
***Please note that Australians are covered by the Canadian embassy in Ouagadougou***
Avenue du Tresor, BP 504, Ouagadougou
Telephone: (226) 220.127.116.11
- With ongoing operations in central Ouagadougou, MS Risk advises all travellers to avoid the central area of the capital and to shelter in place unless instructed otherwise by security forces or authorities.
- A curfew has been put in place from 2300 to 0600 UTC.
- While the airport in Ouagadougou and borders are currently open, MS Risk advises all travellers that the Burkinabe authorities may change this with minimal notice.
In the wake of the terror attack in Ouagadougou, MS Risk has the following in place:
- Our local agents are taking stock of the scene and we will be able to provide local nationals as private security personnel through our partners for the benefit of clients. This includes provision of fully licensed armed personnel.
- We have liaison in place with the state security forces and will share relevant information as we are made aware.
- Our analyst team is reviewing the attack and tracking related events and will be issuing further bulletins.
- We have expatriate consultants on standby to deploy to Burkina Faso to conduct urgent security reviews, update crisis response contingencies, supervise security enhancements, coordinate repatriation of non-essential personnel for any companies and other tasks as may be necessary.
- Our aviation partners can lay on private air charters if there is a demand. We will continue to monitor commercial flight schedules.
- Contact us for more information or support:
- By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Our 24/7 hotline: +44 207 754 3555 and request assistance. Have your contact details to hand so we can ensure appropriate follow up.