Burkina Faso authorities crack down on jihadists

Security Minister Simon Compaore says 10 people were arrested for helping to carry out jihadist attacks.

FILE: Burkina Faso troops oversee the evacuation of bodies outside the Splendid hotel and the Cappuccino restaurant following a jihadist attack in Ouagadougou on 16 January 2016. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - Authorities in Burkina Faso have arrested 10 people they say helped jihadist attacks in Ouagadougou and in the neighbouring Ivory Coast.

Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for two attacks aimed at foreigner visitors in those countries that left 59 people dead.

The January blast at a hotel in Burkina Faso and at a beach in the Ivory Coast two months later targeted business and tourism visitors to those countries.

Burkina Faso's security minister, Simon Compaore, says 49 people of different nationalities, three of whom were women, were initially arrested.

After further investigations, 39 were released. Compaore said that six of the suspects had been trained in Niger and took part in several terrorist attacks against the United Nations' peacekeeping forces in Mali.

The minister says some of the suspects provided heavy drugs to the suicide bombers.