Al-Qaeda affiliate claims Ouagadougou attack: monitor group

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack saying it was "revenge against France and the disbelieving West", according to US-based monitoring group SITE (AFP Photo/Ahmed Ouoba)

Washington (AFP) - An Al-Qaeda affiliate in Africa has claimed responsibility for Friday's attack on a restaurant in Ouagadougou in which a witness said several people were killed, according to a US-based jihadist monitoring group.

The "mujahideen brothers" of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb "broke into a restaurant of one of the biggest hotels in the capital of Burkina Faso, and are now entrenched and the clashes are continuing with the enemies of the religion," the SITE Intelligence Group quoted an Arabic-language AQIM message as saying.

"O Allah, make it successful, and O nation of the Cross, wait for the glad tidings of what will harm you," the message added.

A Burkina Faso official said there were victims in the ongoing attack as well as hostages, and that the government was planning a counter-assault that may include foreign forces.

Friday's attack occurred in the Cappuccino restaurant across from the Splendid hotel, located in a busy central area of the city. Both establishments are popular with United Nations staff and westerners.

Several vehicles were on fire in the street near the four-star hotel.

According to SITE, the message said the attackers were members of the al-Murabitun Battalion based in Mali and run by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a jihadist leader who has been known as "The Uncatchable" and is believed responsible for the 2013 Algeria gas field assault.