Attack against the French Embassy and Institute in Ouagadougou

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Attack against the French Embassy and Institute in Ouagadougou

Burkina Faso's communications minister says eight Islamic extremists, and seven Burkina Faso soldiers have been killed in the attacks on the French Embassy and army headquarters in Ouagadougou, the capital.

"The attack concerns the following areas according to the first information available: around the Prime Ministry, the roundabout near United Nations", it said.

Gunfire and explosions rocked Burkina Faso's capital early Friday in what the police said was a suspected attack by Islamic extremists. He said gunfire and explosions had subsided and people were seen leaving offices near the attacks.

The Elysee statement urged French nationals to follow alerts from the embassy.

At the same time, a second group of about five men in a pickup truck opened fire in the vicinity of the prime minister's office and tried to enter the French embassy. Five emergency centers were set up in Ouagadougou to treat the high number of casualties in the former French colony.

"Terrorist attack this morning in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso: solidarity with colleagues and Burkinabe friends", Jean-Marc Ch√Ętaigner wrote on Twitter, adding to avoid downtown Ouagadougou.

France's embassy confirmed in a statement it was under attack along with a cultural centre and the army headquarters.

"The situation is under control at French diplomatic premises", in Burkina Faso's capital, which came under attack Friday, a French foreign ministry source said.

"Attacks are reported to be ongoing in downtown Ouagadougou, in the Koulouba area".

Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world.

An attack by gunmen past year on a restaurant in Ouagadougou left at least 18 people dead, including two attackers.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the 2016 killings along with the jihadist group known as Al Mourabitoun.

Burkinabe security sources gave a lower toll, saying "around 15" people were killed, while the army's medical chief, Colonel Amado Kafando, said 75 others had been injured. Islamists are attacking state institutions and security forces in the northern part of Burkina Faso, which borders with unstable Mali, notes the press. Five countries - Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania - launched a new taskforce a year ago to tackle Islamist militants in the arid Sahel region, to which worldwide donors have committed half a billion dollars.

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