OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, Jan. 16 (UPI) — Local military and French special forces took back the Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso and freed dozens of hostages after an attack by Islamist militants killed more than 20 people on Friday night.
Gunmen, believed to be linked to al Qaida, stormed the hotel and nearby coffee shop Le Cappuccino located in Ouagadougou, the capitol of the West African state.
The siege ended at 9 a.m. on Saturday local time after soldiers killed at least four of the assailants and regained control of the hotel.
Officials said up to 23 people from 18 nationalities were also killed in the siege. Security forces freed 126 hostages with about half having to be hospitalized.
Witnesses said the attackers wore turbans and screamed “Allahu akbar” as they shot their way into the hotel.
A chapter of al Qaida claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement. The group claimed responsibility in November for an attack on a Raddison Blu hotel in Mali that left 22 dead.
French President Francois Hollande condemned the group’s actions calling it an “odious and cowardly attack.”