An al-Qaida-affiliated group is taking responsibility for the siege of a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso’s capital, reports CNN.
The country’s security forces—with logistical help from U.S. and French troops—stormed the Splendid hotel in Ouagadougou early Saturday morning, trading gunfire with the militants and freeing 126 hostages, half of whom were hospitalized, according to CNN.
Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, claimed responsibility for the attack, reports NBC News.
NBC is also reporting that Clement Sawadogo, Burkina Faso’s minister of public service, labor and social security, was among those freed.
Security Minister Simon Compaore announced that four of the attackers—including two women—were killed in the hourslong attack that reportedly began across the street at a café.
One witness who said he escaped through a broken window of the hotel reported that the attackers were randomly shooting people.
“Everyone was panicked and was lying down on the floor. There was blood everywhere; they were shooting at people at point-blank [range],” said Yannick Sawadogo to CNN.
In December, AQIM reportedly called for Muslims in several countries, including the West African nation, to “wake up for jihad,” reports NBC.