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Burkina PM confirms women amongst hotel assailants

Burkina Army

TVCE (OUAGADOUGOU] – Burkina Faso’s Prime Minister Paul Kaba Thieba has confirmed that two of the assailants that seized and attacked an hotel in the country’s capital on Friday were women.

The confirmation came shortly after President Roch Marc Christian Kabore convened an emergency meeting in Ouagadougou on Saturday (January 16) morning to discuss new security measures.

“According to the information we have there were indeed women amongst the assailants but at this time I am unable to give you any further details on their identity nor on their exact number,” Thieba said.

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He added that the government was calling for vigilance and solidarity.

Al Qaeda fighters had on Friday seized a hotel in an assault that killed at least 28 people from at least 18 countries.

Burkina Faso, which shares a border with Mali and the Sahel region, had largely been spared the violence that has plagued its neighbours.

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The assault marked a major escalation of Islamist militancy in West Africa.

It follows a similar raid in November on a luxury hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako which killed 20 people, including citizens of Russia, China and the United States.

Amongst the hostages at the hotel was Clement Sawadogo, Labour and Social Security Minister, who was attending a meeting.

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He said it took a while to figure out what was going on but when the information finally sank in it was “horrible” and “difficult”. He felt the only thing that might have saved them was the fact they were located on the fourth floor of the building.

Speaking on state-run television, President Kabore said 156 hostages had been freed by the security operation to retake the area, while around 50 civilians had been wounded. Four members of the security forces, including one French soldier were also wounded.

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