OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — A Turkish restaurant came under attack late Sunday as heavy gunfire erupted in the capital of Burkina Faso, which has seen a surge in violence by Islamic extremists over the past few years.
Security forces were at the scene with armored vehicles, as reports of shots fired near an upscale restaurant in Ouagadougou brought back painful memories of a January 2016 attack at a cafe that left 30 people dead.
At least two people including one foreigner were wounded in the attack, an AFP journalist said.
Witnesses said that three armed men arrived in a 4×4 at around 9:30 pm and opened fire on customers seated outside the cafe.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Police spokesman Capt. Guy Ye told The Associated Press the target of the attack was a Turkish restaurant known as Aziz Istanbul.
Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.
The three attackers in the 2016 massacre were of foreign origin, according to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which claimed responsibility in the aftermath along with the jihadist group known as Al Mourabitoun. But the terror threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly homegrown, experts say.
The northern border region is now the home of a local preacher, Ibrahim Malam Dicko, who radicalized and has claimed recent deadly attacks against troops and civilians. His association, Ansarul Islam, is now considered a terrorist group by Burkina Faso’s government.