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Date TimeMarch 02, 2018
VoiceMultiple armed attacks are underway in Burkina Faso's capital of Ouagadougou, with one centered on the French embassy, according to a post on the embassy's Facebook page.
French embassy under attack in Burkina Fasos capital
"The attack is ongoing at the French embassy and the French Institute," the post said, adding that people should remain "confined" to where they are. The French Institute, a cultural organization, is about a mile away from the embassy.
France's ambassador to Burkina Faso, Xavier Lapdecab, urged people via Twitter to act with "absolute precaution" as the attack is ongoing.
France's special envoy to Africa's Sahel region, Jean-Marc Châtaigner, referred to a "terrorist attack" in a post on Twitter, as he urged people to avoid the city center.
Burkina Faso's national police warned people to move away from areas around the "vicinity of the Prime Ministry -- and the United Nations roundabout."
"The specialized units of the defense and security forces are in action," the force said on its official Facebook page.
French embassy under attack in Burkina Fasos capital
The US Embassy in Burkina Faso also warned US citizens to seek shelter amid reports of gunfire.
A tweet from the US Embassy read: "@Usembassyouaga has received reports of gunfire in downtown Ouagadougou. Avoid the area of downtown Ouagadougou. Seek secure shelter. Monitor local media for updates. Check back here for more updates from the embassy."
France has a military presence in Burkina Faso as part of Operation Barkhane, which was launched in 2014 to combat jihadist activity across the Sahel region.
Burkina Faso -- then known as Upper Volta -- was a French colony until 1960.
An attack by gunmen last year on a restaurant in Ouagadougou left at least 18 people dead, including two attackers. The victims were of several different nationalities.
That assault echoed a similar one in 2016 on a cafe in the same district of the city that left 29 dead. Responsibility for that attack was claimed by the jihadist group al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Later that year jihadist attackers launched an assault on the Grand-Bassam beach resort in Ivory Coast, killing 16.

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