Multiple Attacks Rock French Embassy, Military HQ In Burkina Faso

People watch as black smoke rises as the capital of Burkina Faso came under multiple attacks on March 2, 2018, targeting the French embassy, the French cultural centre and the country’s military headquarters. PHOTO: Ahmed OUOBA / AFP

 

The capital of Burkina Faso came under multiple attacks on Friday, targeting the French embassy, the French cultural centre and the country’s military headquarters, an AFP reporter and witnesses said.

Witnesses said five armed men got out of a car and opened fire on passersby before heading towards the embassy, in the centre of the city.

An AFP reporter heard heavy exchanges of gunfire and saw a blazing vehicle, which witnesses said was the car used by the assailants. Police and army units were deployed in the area.

Other witnesses said there was an explosion near the headquarters of the Burkinabe armed forces and the French cultural centre, which are located about a kilometre (half a mile) from the site of the first attack.

The French embassy confirmed that French interests were under attack.

“Attack under way at th French embassy and French Institute. Stay indoors,” it said in a terse message posted on Facebook.

Burkina Faso is one of a string of fragile countries on the southern rim of the Sahara that are battling jihadist groups.

The insurgency has caused thousands of deaths, prompted tens of thousands to flee their homes and dealt crippling blows to economies that are already among the poorest in the world.

On August 13 last year, two assailants opened fire on a restaurant on Ouagadougou’s main avenue, killing 19 people and wounded 21. The attack remains unclaimed.

On January 15 2016, 30 people, including six Canadians and five Europeans, were killed in a jihadist attack on a hotel and restaurant in the city centre.

Responsiblity was claimed by a group called Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which is known by its French acronym of AQMI.

France, the former colonial power in the Sahel region, has deployed 4,000 troops and is supporting a five-country joint force gathering Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

The United Nations also has a 12,000-strong peacekeeping force in Mali called MINUSMA, which has taken heavy casualties. Four UN peacekeepers were killed by a mine blast on Wednesday in the centre of the country.

AFP

Nigerian Air Force Release French Aircraft

AircraftThe Nigerian Airforce has released an Antonov aircraft said to be carrying some military hardware arrested at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in the early hours of Saturday, December 6, 2014.

The aircraft was released to the French Government on Monday.

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Molusola Amosu, who authorized the release noted that even though the French Government had a block clearance for the year, it did not have the clearance to operate that category of flight in the country.

He, however, added that after thorough investigation, the aircraft was not found wanting in anyway.

He noted that the diversion was in line with standard practices world over.

On his part, the French Defence attaché explained that the aircraft was carrying helicopters and Christmas presents for its soldiers stationed in the Chadian capital.

Arms Deal: French Embassy Claims Ownership Of Russian Plane

Antonov-124-5The French Embassy has claimed ownership of the Russian commercial plane carrying two light helicopters and some arms.

Though a close look at the Plane which was packed near the new International terminal of the airport has a Russian Flag design on it with inscription number 224, R-82038.

The plane was held down at the Mallam Aminu International Airport in Kano, while a group of northern consensus movement continue to stage protest around the airport over the identity of the plane.

The French Embassy says the cargo plane, an Antonov 124, had a regular flight plan from Bangui to N’djamena; the embassy also explained that the flight was covered by a diplomatic clearance given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The full details of what the plane was carrying was declared as two gazzelle helicopters with spare parts and maintenance items.

However, after the search of the cargo aircraft “Two invincible to Radar military aircraft, one bullet proof Ford and four containers filled with different caliber of rifles and bullets where discovered”.

Two French non-commissioned officers were also said to be on board as passengers to escort the equipment.

Sources at the airport told Channels Television that the Plane was under the escort of 18 persons comprises of two pilots and two foreign soldiers in military uniform.

“from the control tower, the pilot asked for clearance to land on emergency but on landing he was asked provide clearance for entering the Nigeria airspace, what he gave was actually uttered”