Terrorist Attack In Burkina Faso: Explosions, Gun Battles as Six Gunmen Enter Hotel and Take Hostages In Capital; American, French Soldiers at Site

Initial reports suggest the attack included two car bombs outside the hotel.
Initial reports suggest the attack included two car bombs outside the hotel.

The Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, the Burkina Faso capital, is often frequented by Westerners

Six gunmen entered a hotel frequented by Westerners in the capital of Burkina Faso late Friday, took hostages and exchanged fire with security forces, the Burkinabe gendarmerie said, according to the country’s state broadcaster, RTB.

There were no immediate details about possible casualties or the number of hostages in the attack at the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou.

A group of American and French soldiers have arrived at the site, a journalist at the scene told CNN.

A U.N. spokesman in Ouagadougou, Emile Kabore, told CNN he does not believe any U.N. staffers are staying at the hotel, which is often visited by U.N. personnel in West Africa.

A French Embassy spokesman told CNN the embassy is aware of an ongoing operation at the hotel and did not know if any French nationals were inside the hotel at the time of the attack.

The French Embassy said it will send a warning message to French nationals in Burkina Faso to alert them about the situation.

The U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou said via Twitter that it is aware of the situation. There was no indication if there are any Americans inside the hotel.

Some photos of a fire outside the hotel have been posted by a Burkinabe private broadcaster and similar photos have surfaced on social media.

In November, Burkina Faso elected a new president after nearly three decades of autocratic rule followed by a civil uprising.

Roch Marc Christian Kabore won more than 53% of votes. Kabore was a former prime minister of the West African nation.

The West, particularly France, considers Burkina Faso a key ally in the fight against al Qaeda. The country was formerly known as the Republic of Upper Volta, when it was established in 1958 as a self-governing colony under France.

Blaise Compaore served as President from 1987 until he resigned in 2014. Elections in October were postponed because of a failed coup against a transitional government. Kabore was elected in November.

Pierre Meilhan and Basidou Kinda