Ouagadougou was on Friday, March 2 struck by a double major terrorist attack that targeted the General Staff of the Armed Forces and the Embassy of France.
At least eight attackers and eight members of the security forces were killed. There are also more than 80 wounded. A balance sheet still uncertain.
The attack on Friday, March 2, 2018 in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, was conducted in a coordinated, almost simultaneous manner, according to a known operating procedure targeting two targets at two kilometers apart.
It is 10am when shooting resounds in the district of the French Embassy. Paul Zongo was not far from Avenue. “A vehicle parked at the avenue and four young people under 25 left. Paul says he first saw them trying to enter the building on the east side, where gunfire broke out.
“They were carrying bags and Kalashnikovs. They were really heavily armed,” he adds. But we do not know if there is intrusion or not in buildings – probably not – or even at the level of the airlock. The gendarmes in charge of protection give an immediate answer.
“The French forces did not take part directly in the action“, according to the staff in Paris. The speed of the intervention of Burkinabè forces at the embassy will be welcomed by Emmanuel Macron.
Four terrorists were reportedly killed. Two Burkinabe gendarmes also lost their lives. No French nationals were killed or wounded in the attack, a French diplomatic source.
A little after 11am local time, at the request of the Burkinabe authorities in Paris, two French helicopters of the Special Operations Command (SOC) finally file commandos responsible for securing the area. They spread around the Embassy, the French Development Agency (FDA) and, a little further, the premises of the French Institute.
“After the explosion, the Burkinabe defense and security forces promptly reacted, very quickly neutralized the terrorists and took control of the area. It started around 10am local time and in the early afternoon the situation was under control”, said Alpha Barry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, on the reaction of the police.
The staff of the army, the most powerful attack in Ouagadougou
It is indeed to the French Institute that, minutes after this first attack, the headquarters of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso undergoes a powerful explosion.
A thick black smoke rises in the sky of the capital.
A car full of explosives has just jumped. The explosion is followed by a second terrorist attack.
It is the attack of the staff which makes the most victims. Authorities report the deaths of four terrorists , bringing the number of attackers killed to eight . There is no indication that others were able to escape. Eight members of the security forces were also killed and 80 people injured, a provisional assessment.
“The charge was strong enough and huge to cause serious destruction,” said Burkinabe Minister of Security Clément Sawadogo.
It could have been worse, the army chiefs had a meeting on the G5 Sahel and the room planned for that purpose was blown up. At the last moment, the meeting was moved to another room.
From a good source, it is said that the Burkinabe chief of staff, Oumarou Sadou, is safe and sound. He was not touched. If the meeting had been held in the room initially agreed, “there would have been an extremely dramatic situation,” confirms the Minister of Security.
Several people were arrested. The investigation will have to determine how attackers managed to enter the building before being neutralized by Burkinabè security forces.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs raises the possibility that they have neutralized the guards protecting the entrance. According to reports, some assailants wore army uniforms, information denied by Minister Alpha Barry.
“We say that it is indeed 8 dead and not 28 dead. For us, the figure of 28 is false. It would be difficult to hide about twenty dead,” Alpha Barry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, on the record of the attack.