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Al-Qaeda gunmen kill at least 20 people outside African hotel popular with tourists

Around 10 vehicles were on fire in the street where the four-star Splendid hotel is located in a busy, central area of Ouagadougou.

Source: Burkina 24/YouTube

Updated: 00.20

GUNSHOTS AND EXPLOSIONS have been heard coming from one of the main hotels in the capital of African country Burkina Faso, according to an AFP journalist who saw three men firing at the scene.

Attackers have killed at least 20 people at a restaurant opposite the four-star hotel where the assailants are now holed up, a senior staff member at a local hospital told the agency.

A police officer was shot trying to reach the Splendid hotel opposite, where the attackers remain, according to officers, with sporadic gunfire continuing.

The Associated Press is reporting that an Al-Qaida affiliate in Africa has already claimed responsibility for the attack, which is still under way.

Around 10 vehicles were on fire in the street where the four-star Splendid hotel is located in a busy, central area of Ouagadougou.

The hotel is regularly used by United Nations staff and westerners.

Reuters reports that hostages have been taken.

The Cappuccino Splendid cafe-restaurant opposite the hotel, also popular with westerners, had also been targeted, a witness who spoke to AFP added.

Police and security forces were at the scene supported by a helicopter.

The attack comes less than two months after a jihadist attack at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the Malian capital Bamako on November 20 in which 20 people died including 14 foreigners.

President sworn in

Last month Burkina Faso swore in Roch Marc Christian Kabore as president, completing the troubled West African state’s transition after the overthrow of its longtime ruler, Blaise Compaore in 2014 and a failed coup attempt in September.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in October 2014 when Compaore sought to extend his rule, forcing him to step down after ruling the poor, landlocked country with an iron fist for 27 years.

Kabore, 58, becomes only the third civilian president of the nine who have held power since the country’s independence from France in 1960.

Originally published: 22.09

Contains reporting by AFP, additional reporting by Nicky Ryan.

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