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People's Daily Online

30 hostages freed from militants-held hotel in Burkina Faso

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 13:38, January 16, 2016

OUAGADOUGOU, Jan. 16 -- Some 30 hostages have been freed from the Splendid Hotel that was attacked by an Al-Qaidaaffiliate Friday, Burkina Faso's Minister of Communications Remis Dandjinou said Saturday.

Dandjinou said on Twitter that some 30 hostages including Public Works Minister Clement Sawadogo were freed and operations continued. The minister also said Burkina Faso and French security forces are working together in operations to recapture the hotel held by Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) militants.

At least 21 have been killed and 15 others wounded after the Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) attacked the Splendid Hotel and took hostages there Friday. And now it is not clear how many people were taken hostage there.

SITE Intelligence group, a U.S.-based monitor group said on its website 'Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed credit for the raid at the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, reporting its execution by the recently-joined al-Murabitoon Battalion.'

The Splendid Hotel, not far from the capital city's international airport, often hosts Westerners, including UN staff and journalists, CNN reported. Foreigners and Burkina Faso nationals are among the hostages, said the Foreign ministry.

Three heavily armed attackers, wearing ski masks, arrived in two vehicles, said witnesses.

Gunfire and explosions were heard in the business center of the capital around 7:30 p.m. (1930 GMT). The area around the hotel has been sealed off and a curfew was imposed until 6 a.m. Saturday local time.

Earlier in the day, some 20 armed men attacked a security forces patrol in the vicinity of the northern city of Tinakof, near the Mali border, killing two people including a police officer and a civilian.

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