Islamic extremists attack French embassy in West Africa

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Starting off with Burkina Faso: the Secretary-General is closely following the reported attacks on the Embassy of France and the Army Headquarters in Burkina Faso's capital that took place early this morning.

The other targets were the French Embassy and the French Institute.

Burkina Faso's government said four attackers had been killed at the embassy and at least two at the headquarters.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

France's foreign minister said his country is as determined as ever to fight extremist violence in Africa after the French Embassy was targeted in Burkina Faso.

Speaking on state television, government spokesman Remi Dandjinou said the unidentified gunmen killed five Burkinabe soldiers and wounded around 50 others at the military headquarters.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he is being updated on the developments of the attack, in a statement released by the Elysee Palace on Friday.

Attacks by Islamist insurgents are on the rise across the Sahel despite the presence in Mali of a 13,000-strong United Nations force and the growing involvement of the French and USA militaries. It also recommends that the Mission, Headquarters here in NY and troop-contributing countries should actively pursue a strategy aimed at rendering the Force Intervention Brigade more robust, agile and better suited for offensive operations, especially in remote and hard terrains.

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Police also took up positions near the offices of the prime minister where gunfire was also reported.

Several other people were wounded among the security forces, and it is feared the death toll could rise, communications minister Remy Danjuinou added.

On February 21, two members of the French counter-terrorism force were killed by a landmine near Mali's border with Niger and Burkina Faso. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.

"The attack is ongoing", he wrote on Twitter, the French Ambassador.

This is the third major attack Ouagadougou has seen in the past two years.

As a retired soldier who came to power in a military coup, Compaore had been involved in trade-offs with armed elements to stave off any chance for the kind of attacks being witnessed in Burkina Faso over the past two years. In January 2016, Islamic extremists attacked another cafe popular with foreigners, killing 30 people.

An attack by gunmen previous year on a restaurant in Ouagadougou left at least 18 people dead, including two attackers.

The Jamat Nosrate El Islam, which boasts of over 500 members, is also said to be a fusion of splinter forces from Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dime, Katiba Macina, and Al-Maurabitoune, all operating across the African Sahel. The 5,000-member force combines troops from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania, with France leading the efforts to bring in worldwide funding.

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