Military headquarters, French Embassy attacked in Burkina Faso's capital

Burkina Faso's information minister says four Islamic extremists have been killed in an attack on the French Embassy and French cultural center in the capital, Ouagadougou.

Pictures from the scene showed windows blown out by the blasts and cars covered in debris as smoke filled the air.

"The US Embassy tweeted: "@Usembassyouaga has received reports of gunfire in downtown Ouagadougou.

The country is one of a group of fragile states on the southern rim of the Sahara that are battling jihadist groups.

"To date, 508 Canadians in Burkina Faso have registered with the voluntary Registration of Canadians Abroad service", Hannan said.

Communications minister Remy Danguinou confirmed that Islamic extremists attacked both the French Embassy and the Burkina Faso army headquarters in Ouagadougou.

A French diplomatic source quoted by Agence France-Presse said the situation at the embassy was now under control.

Burkina Faso's government said four attackers had been killed at the embassy and at least two at the headquarters.

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Witnesses have reported seeing armed men getting out of a auto and opening fire, according to AFP news agency.

The French targets attacked are symbolic given that French President Emmanuel Macron chose to outline his Africa strategy, including the fight against militants, in November in Ouagadougou.

Government has since urged the citizenry to calm down and stay away from the affected areas as the military restores calm. They said the attackers left the truck, set fire to the embassy and started shooting.

Soldiers and other security forces including French troops have been deployed around the city to maintain security. He was not able to give further casualty details.

Gunfire and explosions rocked Burkina Faso's capital Friday, by the army headquarters and in a neighborhood that houses embassies, the offices of the prime minister and the United Nations.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which is the third major assault on Ouagadougou in just over two years.

Burkina Faso has suffered a history of Islamist violence, with most of the attacks taking place in the remote northern border region with Mali. The 5,000-member force combines troops from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania, with France leading the efforts to bring in worldwide funding.

Mr. Some said in the government's first statement since the attack that authorities "cannot ascribe any motive" to the attackers "since we are not in their mind".

  • Michelle Webb