Burkina Faso army arrests dozens of suspects after armory raid

Authorities blame former members of the presidential guard for the armory raid on Friday.

A general view of damaged outside of the Cappuccino bar opposite the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on 18 January 2016. Picture: EPA

OUAGADOUGOU - Burkina Faso's army has arrested a total of about 40 suspects after an armory raid last week on the outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

The country is still reeling from an attack by gunmen on a hotel and restaurant in Ouagadougou on 15 January during which 30 people were killed, most of them foreigners. The attack was claimed by an al Qaeda-affiliated group.

Authorities blame former members of the presidential guard - disbanded after a coup in September and loyal to ousted president Blaise Compaore - for the armoury raid on Friday in which rocket launchers and assault rifles were stolen.

After last year's coup, some of the elite guards fled with their weapons, and on Tuesday the army published names and photos of nine former officers who are still on the run.

Sixteen suspects were arrested over the weekend.

"In the scope of the investigation on the attack on the Yimdi armory, we have proceeded in the arrests of 30-40 suspects up to this point," army spokesman Colonel Williame Yameogo said.

No ammunition was taken in the raid, he said.