Survivors recall narrow escape from Burkina Faso attack

Ouagadougou, Jan 17: As al-Qaida fighters attacked the cafe where he worked, Clement Djiguende was saved by chance: A jihadist who had been firing at patrons simply ran out of bullets.

The gun stuck for a moment. Then the militant, dressed in black and a turban, tried several times to reload. That's when Djiguende and another server bolted toward the bathrooms not far from the bar where only moments earlier they had been serving cold drinks on just another Friday night.


About 20 other people were already crowding into the toilets in a bid to save their lives as the sound of gunfire resumed at the Cappuccino Cafe. Others tried to climb through the restaurant's broken windows. Some managed to get to the roof where they waited for the carnage to stop. On the cafe's large outdoor terrace, "wounded people were crying out in pain," the bartender recalled.

"The jihadists then started killing the wounded." At least 10 of the 28 victims of the Ouagadougou attacks lost their lives at the cafe that night, including the Ukrainian wife and son of the restaurant's owner, officials confirmed. An American missionary who ran an orphanage in Burkina Faso was also killed while meeting with a local pastor at the cafe.

An audio tape later released by the North Africa affiliate of al-Qaida that claimed responsibility for the carnage was titled: "A Message Signed with Blood and Body Parts."

The attackers arrived in a vehicle with license plates from neighboring Niger and spoke with an Arabic accent when screaming in French, witnesses said.

The cafe had long been a popular hangout in Ouagadougou, with a menu of Western dishes and a bakery that sold birthday cakes and pastries, among other items. Witnesses said four attackers stormed the cafe around 7:30 PM. Not only did they shoot at patrons, they also created another deathtrap by setting the cafe ablaze. 


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