Twenty three people of 18 different nationalities are now known to have been killed after Islamist militants attacked Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso.
Al-Qaeda militants attacked the luxury hotel in Ouagadougou as well as a cafe and another hotel nearby.
Four attackers – two of them reportedly women – died in the assaults.
The siege at the Splendid hotel was declared over after a joint operation by local and French security forces.
The Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) militant group has said it carried out the attack, which began on January 15.
Bukinabe President Roch Kabore, who arrived at the scene on January 16 amid tight security, announced the death toll and the liberation of at least 150 hostages.
The French Ambassador, Gilles Thibault, gave a higher death toll of 27 and denied any women were among the militants killed at the hotel.
In another development, an Austrian doctor and his wife were kidnapped on January 15 in northern Burkina Faso near the border with Mali, Burkinabe officials said. AQIM said it kidnapped the couple.
In November, an AQIM attack on a hotel in Bamako, the capital of neighboring Mali, left 19 people dead.
Militants attacked the Splendid and the nearby Cappuccino cafe on Friday evening, setting off several explosions. Both places are popular with UN staff and foreigners.
Survivors described how the militants went from person to person, touching their bodies to see if they moved.
Burkina Faso’s Interior Minister Simon Compaore said 10 bodies had been found on the cafe terrace alone. He added that at least 33 hostages had been injured.
As the end of the siege at the Splendid was being announced, reports came in that militants had taken up position at the Yibi hotel, a short distance away. One attacker was killed at the Yibi, officials said later.
Simon Compaore said two black Africans and an Arab were among the militants killed.
Burkina Faso’s army has said it will install a transitional government, days after it seized power as President Blaise Compaore resigned.
The move came after soldiers had fired shots at the state TV station and barricaded the capital’s main square as thousands of protesters demanded the military give up power.
At least one demonstrator was killed in Sunday’s clashes.
The UN has also condemned the military takeover and threatened sanctions.
Long-time leader Blaise Compaore quit on Thursday, following days of anti-government protests.
The army named Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida as the leader of a transitional government on Saturday.
However, thousands of protesters gathered on November 2 in the capital Ouagadougou, demonstrating against the army.
On Sunday evening, following a meeting with key opposition figures, a military spokesman said the army would put in place “a transition body… with all the components to be adopted by a broad consensus”.
“Power does not interest us, only the greater interest of the nation,” the military said in a statement.
Thousands of protesters gathered in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, demonstrating against the army
It had been necessary to disperse protesters to “restore order”, the statement said, adding that one demonstrator outside the state TV station had died.
There were chaotic scenes at the state broadcaster’s headquarters on November 2, as both opposition leader Saran Sereme and former Defense Minister Kwame Lougue turned up to a rally.
It is believed that both had gone there, separately, to announce that they could head the transition government.
However, shortly after they arrived, gunfire broke out and staff and protesters fled.
National television resumed broadcasting a few hours later.
Troops also cleared protesters from the capital’s main square, Place de la Nation.
On Sunday evening, key opposition figures met Col. Isaac Zida for talks.
Those present included Zephirin Diabre, leader of the Union for Progress and Change, former Foreign Minister Ablasse Ouedraogo, ex-PM Roch Marc Christian Kabore and Benewende Sankara, leader of the Union for Rebirth – Sankarist Party.
However, Saran Sereme reportedly left before the talks began and there were no details on what was discussed.
Mass protests first erupted last week when long-time leader Blaise Compaore attempted to extend his 27-year rule.
Parts of the parliament building were set on fire, and the president fled to Ivory Coast.
Under Burkina Faso’s constitution, the president of the Senate should take over after the national president resigns and an election should take place between 60 and 90 days afterwards.
The African Union, the US and regional economic bloc Ecowas have all condemned the military takeover.
The UN’s West Africa envoy Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the military must allow a civilian transfer of power, and sanctions were a possibility if this did not happen.
Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore has resigned following violent protests at his attempt to extend his 27-year rule.
Blaise Compaore issued a statement saying the presidency was now vacant and urging elections within 90 days.
Military chief General Honore Traore said he had taken over as head of state “in line with constitutional measures”.
Crowds danced and cheered in the capital, Ouagadougou, after Blaise Compaore’s resignation was broadcast.
On October 30, protesters angry at his attempt to amend the constitution had set fire to parliament and government buildings.
Blaise Compaore had earlier vowed to remain in power until a transitional government completed its work in 2015, although he had agreed not to seek another term.
President Blaise Compaore has resigned following violent protests at his attempt to extend his 27-year rule
However, the opposition continued to demand that he resign – a key leader, Zephirin Diabre, urged protesters to occupy public spaces.
Blase Compaore’s statement, read on television, said: “In order to preserve the democratic gains, as well as social peace, I declare a power vacuum to allow the establishment of a transition leading to free and fair elections within a maximum of 90 days.”
He added: “For my part, I think I have fulfilled my duty.”
His whereabouts now remain unclear.
However, Reuters news agency reported that a heavily armed convoy believed to be carrying Blaise Compaore was travelling towards the southern town of Po.
France welcomed the resignation, saying it “allows a solution to be found to the crisis”.
In a statement, Gen. Honore Traore said: “In line with constitutional measures, and given the power vacuum… I will assume as of today my responsibilities as head of state.”
He added: “I undertake a solemn engagement to proceed without delay with consultations with all parties in the country so as to start the process of returning to the constitutional order as soon as possible.”
Late on Thursday, Gen. Honore Traore had announced the creation of the transitional government, declared the dissolution of parliament and imposed a night curfew.
Blaise Compaore was a young army officer when he seized power in 1987, a taciturn man who became known as Beau Blaise – good looking Blaise. The nickname did not necessarily suggest he was popular. Many blamed him for the death of his predecessor, the charismatic revolutionary Thomas Sankara, who was killed by soldiers in mysterious circumstances.
Controversy would be a perpetual feature of Beau Blaise’s time in power. The president was accused of stoking rebellions around West Africa. Yet over time Blaise Compaore oversaw a transformation of his image, internationally at least. This inflammatory figure became a man relied upon to put out fires around the region.
Blaise Compaore won a series of elections, though the opposition always complained the odds were stacked dramatically in his favor. He largely followed the economic orthodoxy prescribed by international financial institutions. But Burkina Faso did not escape the poverty trap. It remains one of the least developed countries in the world.
Al passengers and crew members on board of Air Algerie flight AH5017 died after the aircraft crashed in Mali, says the French President, Francois Hollande.
Francois Hollande said one flight data recorder had been recovered, after French troops reached the crash site near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane early on Thursday after pilots reported severe storms.
The 116 passengers on the Air Algerie flight included 51 French citizens.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 had been chartered from Spanish airline, Swiftair. It was flying from Burkina Faso’s capital, Ougadougou, to Algiers.
There are no survivors from the Air Algerie AH5017 passenger jet that crashed in Mali
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told French radio network RTL that “the aircraft was destroyed at the moment it crashed”.
“We think the aircraft crashed for reasons linked to the weather conditions, although no theory can be excluded at this point,” he said.
A team of 100 French soldiers, with 30 vehicles, had travelled to the crash site on Friday, a French defense ministry official said.
The team was part of a force that was deployed to Mali last year to combat an insurgency backed by al-Qaeda.
“French soldiers who are on the ground have started the first investigations,” Francois Hollande said on Friday.
“Sadly there are no survivors.”
Contact with Flight AH 5017 was lost about 50 minutes after take-off from Ouagadougou early on Thursday morning, Air Algerie said.
The pilot had contacted Niger’s control tower in Niamey at around 01:30 GMT to change course because of a sandstorm, officials say.
Burkina Faso authorities said the passenger list comprised 27 people from Burkina Faso, 51 French, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, two from Luxembourg, five Canadians, four Germans, one Cameroonian, one Belgian, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one Swiss, one Nigerian and one Malian.
The six crew members are Spanish, according to the Spanish pilots’ union.
The wreck of Air Algerie plane that disappeared with 116 people on board on a flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has been found in Mali, officials say.
The Burkina Faso army said Air Algerie flight AH 5017 had crashed about 30 miles from the Burkinabe border.
The wreckage has been found south of the Malian town of Gao.
Air Algerie flight AH 5017 had crashed about 30 miles from the Burkinabe border
The searchers mission is complicated by the vast scale and daunting terrain of Mali. The area where the flight is suspected to have crashed is a sparsely inhabited region of scrubland and desert dunes stretching to the foothills of the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains. Much of it lies in the hands of Tuareg separatist rebels, who rose up against the government in early 2012, triggering an Islamist revolt that briefly seized control of northern Mali.
The Malian government has only a weak presence in the region and relies on French and U.N. peacekeepers for aircraft and logistical support.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane early on Thursday after pilots reported severe storms.
The passengers included 51 French citizens.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 had been chartered from Spanish airline Swiftair.
Air Algerie flight AH 5017 crashed on July 24 en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board, an Algerian aviation official said.
There were few clear indications of what might happened to the aircraft, or whether there were casualties, but Burkino Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedrago said it asked to change route at 01:38 GMT because of a storm in the area.
“I can confirm that it has crashed,” the Algerian official told Reuters, declining to be identified or give any details about what had happened to the aircraft on its way north.
Almost half of the passengers were French citizens, an airline official said.
“Currently we have no news of flight AH5017. Thank you”
Air Algerie flight AH 5017 crashed on July 24 en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board
Two French fighter jets based in the region have been dispatched to try to locate the airliner along its probable route, a French army spokesman said. Niger security sources said planes were flying over the border region with Mali to search for the flight.
Algeria’s state news agency APS said authorities lost contact with flight AH 5017 an hour after it took off from Burkina Faso, but other officials gave differing accounts of the times of contact, adding to confusion about the plane’s fate.
Swiftair, the private Spanish company that owns the plane, confirmed it had lost contact with the MD-83 operated by Air Algerie, which it said was carrying 110 passengers and six crew.
A diplomat in the Malian capital Bamako said that the north of the country – which lies on the plane’s likely flight path – was struck by a powerful sandstorm overnight.
An Air Algerie representative in Burkina Faso, Kara Terki, told a news conference that all the passengers on the plane were in transit, either for Europe, the Middle East or Canada.
Kara Terki said the passenger list included: 50 French, 24 Burkinabe, eight Lebanese, four Algerians, two from Luxembourg, one Belgian, one Swiss, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian, one Ukrainian and one Romanian.
Lebanese officials said there were at least 10 Lebanese citizens on the flight.
A spokeswoman for SEPLA, Spain’s pilots union, said the six crew were from Spain. She could not give any further details.
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