By Isla Lamont,
International News Writer
Three gunmen have been named in connection with the Splendid Hotel attack on Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on Friday, Jan. 15. The terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have named Battar al-Ansari, Abu Muhammad al-Buqali al-Ansari and Ahmed al-Fulani al-Ansari as gunmen in the attack.
The names are believed to be noms-de-guerre, or pseudonyms used by people conducting acts of war.
The statement has not been independently verified.
29 people were killed in the shooting, as well as three of the attackers. Dozens more were injured. There were guests from many different nations staying at the hotel during the time of the attack. A cappuccino café across the street was also attacked in conjunction with the hotel attack.
Witnesses and survivors recount there being more than three gunmen, leaving some perpetrators still unidentified. In AQIM’s statement, it called the Splendid Hotel a “den of global espionage”.
Earlier claims by the terrorist cell claimed that the gunmen were from al-Murabitoun, a jihadist group from Algeria.
According to the BBC, AQIM is based in the Sahara Desert between Mali, Niger and Algeria and has attacked West African countries, but this was its first attack on Burkina Faso.
AQIM is the North African based affiliate of the infamous Al Qaeda. AQIM is also responsible for the attack on the Radisson Blu in Bamako, Mali in 2015.
Along with its statement, AQIM released a photo of the three named men in military dress with weapons.
French and Burkinabe forensic experts are still finding, sorting, and examining wreckage at the hotel site for any new evidence about the attacks.
Local employees are unsettled by the recent events, some even going so far as to plan escape routes in the event of another attack.
While some make a point to go about their day as normal and preach trust in their government to handle the attacks, many people are still frightened.
With the country still facing ravaging unemployment, many feel stuck in their current jobs.
Benin president Thomas Boni Yayi, speaking on behalf of the entire West African region, responded to the concern by saying “We’re not going to just sit on our hands. We will react and respond…question is: ‘Whose turn is it next?”
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 26th print edition.
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