Today is another sad day up north in Burkina Faso.
Seventeen people have been killed and eight wounded in a “terrorist attack” in the centre of the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, the government says.
Three gunmen opened fire on customers seated outside a restaurant, witnesses were quoted as saying.
Security forces killed three attackers, but some people are still trapped in the building, Communication Minister Remis Dandjinou says.
A jihadist attack on a cafe nearby left 30 people dead in January last year.
There are fears that the attack is the work of one of the affiliates of al-Qaeda that are active in the Sahel region, the BBC reports.
The shooting began shortly after 21:00 (21:00 GMT) on Sunday on Ouagadougou’s busy Kwame Nkrumah Avenue.
One eyewitness told the BBC: “I saw there were multiple trucks or jeeps driving through my street, with… local army/police officers with AK47s, deploying in front of my house.
“I heard a lot of shootings and then I was scared as hell and I went inside. I’ve been hearing quite a bit of shooting.”
Police captain Guy Ye told Associated Press that the attackers had arrived on motorcycles and had begun shooting randomly.
A government statement quoted by the AFP news agency said: “The attack claimed 17 victims, their nationalities are yet to be confirmed, and eight injured.”
A wounded restaurant customer sits on the ground following an attack by gunmen on a restaurant in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is part of the Sahel region, which includes Mali where Islamist groups have been active since 2012.
A multinational force run by African nations to target jihadist forces in the Sahel region has been established, but it will not be operational until later this year.