The investigation into Ouagadougou’s double attack was progressing on Sunday: an alleged jihadist suspected of having played a key role was heard by the Burkina Faso justice who suspects complicity in the army.
The man whose nationality has not been revealed was arrested on Friday in the hours following the coordinated attacks against the staff of the Burkinabe armies and the French embassy in Ouagadougou , told AFP government source.
This man is suspected of having participated in the attack of the general staff of the army, in the center of Ouagadougou and could even be “a brain” of the operation, one added.
The attacks have left seven security forces dead, according to a latest assessment, and were claimed Saturday night by al-Qaeda-linked Muslim and Islamist Support Group (GSIM), saying it was acting in retaliation for an operation.
Suspicions of Complicity in the Army
Other attackers “jihadists may have escaped” after the attack on the staff, located in the busy district of the large market of Ouagadougou, according to the government source.
The authorities have “very strong suspicions” that there are “infiltrators in the army” that have informed the jihadists for the attack on the staff, added the source Burkina Faso.
Indeed, the explosion of the car bomb that preceded the assault completely destroyed a meeting room, located on the front of the building, where was to be held a meeting of the staff of the G5 Sahel anti-jihadist force.
“Knowledge of Habits” of the Staff
“They had knowledge of the current habits and practices within the staff, which explains the ease with which they accessed the staff through its service access, located at the back of the entrance, ” another government source said on Saturday.
The investigators wonder if the attack on the French embassy was not a “diversion” before the attack on the staff.
Located in the embassy area, the French embassy is very well protected. The attempt resulted in the death of four jihadists who could not enter the diplomatic enclosure, also explained the government source.
However, in its claim, the GSIM said it acted “in response to the death of several of its leaders in a raid of the French army in northern Mali two weeks ago”.
The latest assessment of Friday’s attacks is seven dead among Burkinabe police and more than 80 injured, as well as nine jihadists killed, according to the first government source.
One of the men killed had been wrongly counted in a previous record among the police because he wore a military fatigues. He was actually a jihadist, many of them were in uniform, the source said.
French investigators expected
A prosecutor and four French investigators were expected Sunday in Ouagadougou to participate in the investigation of the double attack on Friday, said the source.
The activity was resumed Sunday in the capital of Burkina Faso, but, sign of extreme tension that persists, two armed incidents occurred, one of which was a death.
At around 02:00 in the morning (local and GMT), a car with three men on board tried unsuccessfully to force a roadblock in the presidential zone of Burkina Faso, on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, according to a second government source.
Two men managed to escape, the third was arrested by members of the presidential security who were holding the roadblock, about 1.5 kilometers from the presidential palace.
The arrested man was shot dead two hours later after attempting to seize the weapon of one of his guards, according to the same source. The police raked the area Sunday.
This incident is apparently unrelated to the jihadist attack, according to a security source, because the men did not have weapons.
Another incident Sunday morning, soldiers fired warning shots at passersby who wanted to cross a barrier in the area of the staff, still completely cordoned off.
“We are all Scared”
GSIM is a jihadist organization that has been bringing together for the past year alone several Sahel entities linked to Al Qaeda.
Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been the target of jihadist attacks, which have already struck its capital, but never reached such a high level of organization.
In the population, nervousness remained palpable Sunday.
Bouri Sawadogo, student wants “that it stops, because, at the pace or that goes, frankly, we are all afraid” .
“Our headquarters is the heart of Ouagadougou, the heart of Burkina Faso was attacked,” he said.