American and French troops stationed in the area joined local security forces early Saturday morning in an attempt to rescue the remaining hostages and claimed to have circled the hotel for several hours for vantage points before engaging their targets.
The attacks are credited to the regional Al Qaeda affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb - who also goes by the acronym AQIM. This specific group usually focuses its operations in Mali and Algeriam, but has recently expanded its terror operation in an attempt to target Westerners in the region.
Witnesses claim that the masked gunmen were seeking out Westerners and UN staff that typically visit a cafe adjacent to the Splendid Hotel (Cappuccino cafe) which is where the attackers entered. An employee that worked at the cafe admitted to the Agence France Presse that "several people" had been killed within the cafe.
The New York Times has reported that it is the first time that the regional Al Qaeda affiliate has extended its terror into the African country - a fact that should concern international leaders who continue to attempt to contain and prevent the threat of terrorism throughout the globe.
Burkina Faso first gained its independence from France in 1960, but is still home to a French military base, along with a United States drone base. It is a landlocked country that populates nearly 18 million people. Despite the presence of French and American military in the region, the attack by the Al Qaeda affiliate illuminates the extent these terror groups are willing to go to in order to instill fear in Westerners that travel to the area.