ADDIS ABABA – The African Union (AU) on Saturday condemned the “despicable and cowardly” terrorist attack on a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou.
“[Dlamini-Zuma] strongly condemns these despicable and cowardly terrorist attacks that caused many casualties and injuries among the civilian population and the defence and security forces.
“On behalf of the AU, she presents her heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wishes speedy recovery to the injured and expresses the full solidarity of the AU with the people and the government of Burkina Faso,” the AU said.
According to reports, at least 23 people of 18 different nationalities died when Islamist militants attacked the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, and another hotel and a cafe nearby on Friday night. At least 33 more were reportedly injured.
The siege at the Splendid Hotel ended on Saturday morning after a joint operation by Burkina Faso and French security forces. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack. Four of the attackers were killed, two of them reportedly women.
“[Dlamini-Zuma] stresses that these attacks take place at a time when the new authorities of Burkina Faso — emanating from the elections of 29 November 2015, which put an end to the transition initiated in November 2014 –usher in a new era of democracy, justice, reconciliation, and sustainable development, with the support of the countries of the region and the international community as a whole.”
She stressed the need for strengthened and better co-ordinated collective African and international efforts to deal with the growing threat of terrorism and extremism in Africa. She reiterated her call to AU member states to enhance their co-operation within the framework of the relevant African and international instruments.
In this respect, she reaffirmed the vital importance of urgently establishing an AU intervention force to be deployed in northern Mali, to fight against the criminal and terrorist groups operating from that region against other countries of the Sahel.
“On this painful occasion, she reiterates the determination of the AU to continue to support Burkina Faso in its efforts towards reconciliation and reform,” the AU said.
Africa News Agency