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Burkina Faso policemen hurt as gunmen storm police station

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PHOTO:AFP

PHOTO:AFP

Two police were wounded, one of them seriously, when heavily-armed gunmen attacked a police station near the border with Mali, a regional official said Wednesday.

Interior Minister Simon Compaore said in a statement that “the arms and operational method used strongly indicate that it was a terrorist attack.”

Regional government official Soum Mohamed Dah told AFP that the attack against the police station in Koutoukou took place late on Tuesday.

He said it was carried out by at least three “heavily-armed” assailants wearing black turbans who drove up to the station, parking their vehicle about 300 metres away.

“One of them reached the station and opened fire on the three men there. Then they ransacked the office, set fire to the shed and fled in their vehicle,” said a communique from the security services.

Anti-terror forces, among them police and soldiers, were immediately dispatched to the area, officials said.

Koutoukou lies several kilometres from the Malian border and 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Djibo, capital of Soum province in northern Burkina Faso, which also borders Mali and Niger.

Until this year Burkina Faso had avoided the attacks and hostage-taking by jihadist groups which had blighted other Sahel countries since 2008.

But on January 15, 30 people — among them many foreigners — were killed during a jihadist raid on a top Burkina Faso hotel and a nearby restaurant in the capital Ouagadougou in an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The next day, an elderly Australian couple were kidnapped in the north of the country where they had lived for more than four decades.

The woman, Jocelyn Elliot, was released in early February, but her 82-year-old husband Kenneth Elliot is still being held.


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