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Last Updated Saturday April 21 2018 01:42 AM IST

17 killed, 8 wounded in attack on Burkina Faso restaurant

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17 killed, 8 wounded in attack on Burkina Faso restaurant People near a restaurant in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, that was attacked by terrorists on Sunday. Reuters

Ouagadougou: At least 17 people were killed and eight wounded in an attack on a restaurant in Burkina Faso's capital on Sunday, the communications' minister said, as security forces at the scene tried to end the attack.

A Reuters witness saw customers running out of the Aziz Istanbul restaurant in Ouagadougou as police and paramilitary gendarmerie surrounded it amid gunfire.

"This is a terrorist attack," communications minister Remi Dandjinou told a news conference. He said the toll was provisional because the security operation was still underway.

A woman said she was in the restaurant celebrating her brother's birthday when the shooting started.

"I just ran but my brother was left inside," the woman told Reuters TV as she fled the building.

Burkina Faso, like other countries in west Africa, has been targeted sporadically by militant groups operating across Africa's Sahel. Most attacks have been along its remote northern border region with Mali, which has seen attacks by militants for more than a decade.

Thirty people were killed when gunmen attacked a restaurant and hotel in Ouagadougou in January 2016 in an incident claimed by al Qaeda in the Maghreb.

A new al Qaeda-linked alliance of Malian jihadist groups claimed an attack in June that killed at least five people at a luxury Mali resort popular with Western expatriates just outside the capital, Bamako.

African nations launched a new multinational military force to tackle militants in the Sahel last month, but it won't be operational until later this year and faces a budget shortfall.

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