6 Canadians, 4 Ukrainians, American among 28 killed in Burkina Faso attack aimed at ‘white people’
At least 28 people died as a result of the brutal attack and hostage situation, which started late on Friday and carried on throughout Saturday at the luxury Splendid Hotel and a nearby cafe in the capital city of Ouagadougou.
The details of the death toll and witness accounts have confirmed that foreigners were specifically targeted for cold-blooded murder in the terror act.
Of the Western nations, Canada appears to have suffered the biggest losses, with the country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, announcing that six Canadians had been killed.
“On behalf of all Canadians, we offer our deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of all those killed and a speedy recovery to all those injured. We are deeply saddened by these senseless acts of violence on innocent civilians,” Trudeau said in a statement.
Trudeau also said that Canada is offering “assistance” with the investigation into what happened in Ouagadougou.
A Ukrainian family was among the victims, including three adults and a nine-year-old girl, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, said. “This is a tragedy for all of us,” Klimkin added on his Twitter account.
Several members of an Italian family also tragically died in an attack, as the wife and the 5-year-old daughter of the the Cappuccino Cafe’s owner were reportedly killed by the gunmen, AP reported.
The victims included two Swiss citizens, according to Switzerland’s Foreign Ministry. A 67-year-old Dutch national was also among those killed, the foreign ministry of the Netherlands reported, adding that the man had been doing volunteer work in Burkina Faso.
Meanwhile, an American killed in the attack was identified as Michael James Riddering, the US State Department announced.
Survivors described the assault as never ending. “They kept coming back and forth into Cappuccino [a cafe next to the Splendid Hotel]. You’d think it was over, then they’d come back and shoot more people. They would come back and see if the white people were moving and then they would shoot them again,” Reuters quoted a Slovenian witness as saying.
“We heard shots, grenades, detonations. It was echoing and extremely loud. It went on for a long time,” she added.
Security forces were only able to regain control of the Splendid Hotel on Saturday after repeatedly entering into shootouts with the Islamists, who barricaded themselves on upper floors and reportedly set up booby traps with explosives.
The takeover of the hotel ended with all four terrorists being killed and 156 hostages freed.
The Al Qaeda terrorist group in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.