Burkina troops retake hotel from Islamists: security minister

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Burkina Faso Hotel Attack


Security forces ended a siege by al Qaeda fighters at a hotel in Burkina Faso's capital on Saturday, killing three Islamist gunmen and freeing 126 hostages, the West African nation's security minister said.

At least 20 people are believed to have been killed in the attack on Ouagadougou's Splendid Hotel which began late on Friday. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the raid.

Simon Compaore said operations were still under way at a second hotel nearby, the Hotel Yibi, and security forces were trying to determine if some of the fighters were hiding there.

"The operations at the Splendid Hotel and the (nearby) Restaurant Cappuccino have ended. 126 hostages were freed, among them 33 were wounded," the minister told Reuters. "Three jihadists were killed. They are an Arab and two black Africans."

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A Reuters witness said that clashes ended after a period of sustained gunfire and explosions that appeared to focus on the Restaurant Cappuccino early on Saturday.

Burkina Faso's new government, which was appointed on Wednesday following the election of President Roch Marc Kabore in November, was due to hold an emergency cabinet meeting at 9 a.m. (4 a.m. ET)).

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Ouagadougou Burkina Faso hotel attacks
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Burkina troops retake hotel from Islamists: security minister
Peopel gather on Kwame Nkruma avenu near Hotel Splendid where the attackers remain with sporadic gunfire continuing in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou on January 15, 2016. Attackers have killed 'several people' at a restaurant opposite a four-star hotel where the assailants are holed up, a restaurant staff member told AFP. / AFP / AHMED OUOBA (Photo credit should read AHMED OUOBA/AFP/Getty Images)
Burkina Faso's soldier stands near Hotel Splendid where the attackers remain with sporadic gunfire continuing in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou on January 15, 2016. Attackers have killed 'several people' at a restaurant opposite a four-star hotel where the assailants are holed up, a restaurant staff member told AFP. / AFP / AHMED OUOBA (Photo credit should read AHMED OUOBA/AFP/Getty Images)
Army forces drive near Hotel Splendid where the attackers remain with sporadic gunfire continuing in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou on Jnauary 15, 2016. Attackers have killed 'several people' at a restaurant opposite a four-star hotel where the assailants are holed up, a restaurant staff member told AFP. / AFP / AHMED OUOBA (Photo credit should read AHMED OUOBA/AFP/Getty Images)
OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO - JANUARY 15: Armored soldiers secure a street outside the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on 15 January 2016. Several people killed and injured in a attack on a hotel in the capital of the western African country of Burkina Faso. Heavily armed gunmen opened fire at a popular restaurant in Ouagadougou before taking an unknown number of hostages in a hotel frequented by Westerners Friday night. (Photo by Olympia Demesond/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO - JANUARY 15: Damaged building of Hotel Splendid where the attackers remain with gunfire continuing in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou on January 15, 2016. Several people killed and injured in a terrorist attack on a hotel in the capital of the western African country of Burkina Faso. Heavily armed gunmen opened fire at a popular restaurant in Ouagadougou before taking an unknown number of hostages in a hotel frequented by Westerners Friday night. (Photo by Olympia Demesond/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Special police forces are seen during search operations following an attack by Al-Qaeda linked gunmen on January 16, 2016 in Ouagadougou. Security forces in Burkina Faso on January 16 completed a counter-offensive against jihadist assailants who stormed a top hotel and a restaurant in the capital hours earlier, a security source said. The source said security forces were continuing search operations in the area around the Splendid hotel and nearby Cappuccino restaurant, which were attacked by the Al-Qaeda-linked gunmen late on January 15, killing at least 23 people. / AFP / AHMED OUOBA (Photo credit should read AHMED OUOBA/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Burkina Faso's soldiers take position in the surroundings of the hotel Splendide and the cafe Cappuccino during an attack on both the hotel and cafe by Al-Qaeda linked gunmen early on January 16, 2016 in Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso troops supported by French special forces were battling Al-Qaeda linked gunmen in the early hours of January 16 in a Ouagadougou hotel where at least 20 people have been killed. / AFP / AHMED OUOBA (Photo credit should read AHMED OUOBA/AFP/Getty Images)
Liberated hostages are escorted by special forces following an attack by Al-Qaeda linked gunmen on January 16, 2016 in Ouagadougou. Security forces in Burkina Faso on January 16 completed a counter-offensive against jihadist assailants who stormed a top hotel and a restaurant in the capital hours earlier, a security source said. The source said security forces were continuing search operations in the area around the Splendid hotel and nearby Cappuccino restaurant, which were attacked by the Al-Qaeda-linked gunmen late on January 15, killing at least 23 people. / AFP / AHMED OUOBA (Photo credit should read AHMED OUOBA/AFP/Getty Images)
French special forces take position by the Labour Ministry building in the surroundings of the Splendid hotel and a restaurant during an attack on both the hotel and restaurant by Al-Qaeda linked gunmen early on January 16, 2016 in Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso troops supported by French special forces were battling Al-Qaeda linked gunmen in the early hours of January 16 in a Ouagadougou hotel where at least 20 people have been killed. / AFP / AHMED OUOBA (Photo credit should read AHMED OUOBA/AFP/Getty Images)
French special forces (rear L and R) and a Burkina Faso's soldier take position in the surroundings of the hotel Splendide and the cafe Cappuccino during an attack on both the hotel and cafe by Al-Qaeda linked gunmen early on January 16, 2016 in Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso troops supported by French special forces were battling Al-Qaeda linked gunmen in the early hours of January 16 in a Ouagadougou hotel where at least 20 people have been killed. / AFP / AHMED OUOBA (Photo credit should read AHMED OUOBA/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Splendid Hotel is popular with Westerners and French soldiers based in Burkina Faso.

A doctor who treated some of those wounded in the attack said they had told him that the attackers appeared to target Westerners. However, the nationalities of those killed in the assault were not immediately known.

Data curated by FindTheData

(This version of the story has been refiled to correct to Splendid Hotel from Hotel Splendid)

(Reporting by Mathieu Bonkoungou and Nadoun Coulibaly; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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