Survivors of the harrowing attack in Burkina Faso have described how jihadis targeted Westerners by executing those who looked to be European as they lay injured after being gunned down.
At least one American and six Canadians, as well as French, Dutch and Swiss nationals are among the 29 people from 18 different countries killed during the 15-hour terror attack by Al-Qaeda militants.
Burkinabe special forces, assisted by 30 French special forces, broke the lengthy siege last night by storming the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou. Three of the gunmen were killed after a firefight before the hotel was re-captured by special forces.
One survivor, a Slovenian anthropologist, said: ‘We heard shots, grenades, detonations. It was echoing and extremely loud. It went on for a long time.
‘They kept coming back and forth into Cappuccino [Cafe]. 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.’
Another witness, Yannick Sawadogo, said: ‘It was horrible… there was blood everywhere. They were firing at people at close range. They were walking around people and firing at people who were not dead.’
And Robert Sangare, the head of Yalgado Ouedraogo hospital last night said a European woman being treated at the hospital told him the attackers appeared to target white people.
Today it emerged that a 67-year-old Dutch national was among those killed, with the country’s foreign minister Bert Koenders calling it ‘painful and bitter that somebody who wanted to contribute to the development of the country has fallen victim to such a deed’.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry also said four members of a Ukrainian family were among those killed. The the woman and her husband owned the cafe where at least 10 people, including their 9-year-old daughter, died before the attackers set the building ablaze and moved on to the nearby hotel.
Burkina Faso is beginning three days of national mourning. In a message broadcast to the nation, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said the people of Burkina Faso must unite in the fight against terrorism.
He also announced that security forces will be stepping up security checks at entrances to the capital, Ouagadougou, and other major towns, as well as along the country’s borders.
American missionary Mike Riddering, who worked with the domestic violence organization Sheltering Wings, is among the 29 dead. He was identified by his wife, his brother, Jeff Riddering, told NBC News.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that six Canadians also died in the attack, according to the National Post.
‘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,” he said in a statement.
French newspaper Le Monde has reported that at least two of the victims are French.
Read more: Daily Mail