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Updated 1242 GMT (2042 HKT) January 16, 2016 | Video Source: CNN
"They ... kept shooting at people that seemed alive," survivor says
At least four attackers were killed, including two women
A government minister was among those rescued
raided a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso overnight, opening fire and
seizing hostages in an hours-long siege that ended with at least 23
Qaeda-linked terrorist group claimed responsibility for the assault at
Splendid Hotel -- a popular meeting place for Western diplomats in the
attack began Friday night and dragged on under the cover of darkness.
Security forces circled the perimeter to assess the situation before
they stormed in hours later.
was panicked and was lying down on the floor. There was blood
everywhere, they were shooting at people at point blank," said Yannick
Sawadogo, who survived the siege.
forces entered the hotel early Saturday and freed 126 hostages, half of
whom were hospitalized, said Alpha Barry, the nation's foreign
The 23 people killed were of 18 nationalities, according to security minister Simon Compaore.
least four attackers were killed, including two women, he said. It was
unclear whether their deaths were included in the figure of 23 people
The French Foreign Ministry, whose troops helped in the rescue operation, said 27 people died.
'We could hear them talking'
Survivors described horrific scenes as the attackers paced and fired in the hotel Friday night.
could hear them talking and they were walking around and kept shooting
at people who seemed alive," Sawadogo told CNN affiliate BFMTV.
Sawadogo said he escaped through a broken window, and could barely see because of smoke.
Search for hostages, terrorists
forces scoured rooms at the hotel, looking for terrorists and any
remaining hostages. Those rescued included a government minister, state
The West African
nation's forces received logistical support from American and French
troops. Shortly after the forces stormed the hotel, the sounds of
Hotel popular with diplomats
attack in Burkina Faso appeared well-planned, with some of the
attackers coming to the hotel during the day and mingling with guests,
the foreign minister said.
When darkness fell, more attackers joined them, he said.
the hotel assault, they attacked the Cappuccino café across the street,
which had about 100 people, according to the state broadcaster.
They then took off to the Splendid Hotel, where they seized hostages.
Witnesses said the attackers wore turbans and spoke a language not native to Burkina Faso, a former French colony.
forces helped with logistical support. The United States has about 75
military personnel in Burkina Faso, including 15 assigned to the U.S.
Embassy, according to a U.S. defense official. An additional 60 help
train and advise the French military in the nation.