The French embassy said on its website that a “terrorist attack” was underway in Ouagadougou and urged people to avoid the area. An Air France flight from Paris to Ouagadougou was diverted to neighbouring Niger. Burkina Faso troops supported by French special forces were battling Al-Qaeda linked gunmen in the early hours of Saturday in a Ouagadougou hotel where at least 20 people have been killed. 63 hostages were rescued, 33 of them wounded, from the Burkinabe capital’s four-star Splendid hotel about two hours after the assault began and heavy gun battles were still being waged on the top floors of the hotel, popular with UN staff and foreigners. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack saying it was “revenge against France and the disbelieving West”, according to US-based monitoring group SITE.
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