Burkina Faso Survivors Say Terrorists Targeted White People, Al Qaeda Takes Responsibility For Attack

Survivors from the horrifying Burkina Faso attack by Al Qaeda jihadis claim that the militants targeted white people during the attack looking for individuals who appeared European or American. In all, 29 people from 18 different countries were killed in the attack including one American and six Canadians. The deadly terrorist attack took place at a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa, that is frequented by travelers. The hotel was allegedly targeted due to the number of tourists from Europe that visited the location.

The Daily Mail reports that survivors from the 15-hour long terror attack at luxury Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou claim that the Al Qaeda terrorists specifically targeted white people in the attack and would execute at close range any people that they thought may still be alive. Other witnesses noted that the terrorists would kick victims that appeared to be Western and look for a reaction. If they reacted the person was shot again.

The terror attack left 29 people dead from 18 different countries including one American. The attack began on January 15th and continued for 15 hours overnight as local authorities had difficulty regaining control of the situation. Those near the hotel noted that each time they thought the terror attack was over, a new wave of shots would fire out. The attack took place at not only the hotel but nearby cafes. In addition to the 29 people killed in the attack, the BBC reports that another 56 were injured during the siege.

Following the ordeal, the Burkinabe Security Minister Simon Compoare revealed that an additional 176 hostages had been rescued. He also noted that the bodies of three “very young” attackers had been found. The incident began when the militants descended upon the Splendid Hotel and a nearby Cappuccino Cafe. The Al Qaeda jihadis detonated a number of explosive devices outside and began shooting people at each location. The witnesses say the militants moved from “body to body” and kicked the person to determine if they were still alive. If they moved, they were shot again.

“They started shooting, shooting, and everybody lay down on the ground. As soon as you lifted your head they would shoot straightaway, so you had to pretend to be dead. And they even came to touch our feet to check if we were alive. As soon as you were alive, they would shoot at you.”

A number of videos show the horror as it unfolded in Burkina Faso with the night sky lighting up as explosions were detonated around the hotel.

It was noted that the Splendid was a likely target due to the fact it was frequented by UN officials and the local cafe was a hotspot for expatriates, the intended target for the attack.

“The four-star hotel is reportedly used by UN agency staff and is near a cafe called Cappucino, said to be popular with expats.”

The US Embassy in Ouaga posted a statement on Facebook noting that the US government condemns the attack in Burkina Faso and is taking it very seriously. They also identified the American killed in the attack as Michael James Riddering who was an American missionary working in the area.

Embassy Ouaga

Following the attack and the Al-Andalus branch of Al Qaeda taking responsibility for the attack, the group posted tribute to some of the attackers killed in the attack along with photos of the jihadis holding weapons.

[Photo by Sunday Alamba/ AP Photo]