I’m just fine, since I don’t make a habit of hanging out in expat hotels.
Actually, I think the place they attacked, the Hotel Splendide downtown, is not really still an expat hotel. I think the expats moved out to the Hotel Laico in Ouaga 2000 or the Silmandé north of downtown a couple of years ago when the new administrative district was created. One gets the impression of Abul a Bulbul Amir and his merry men in a cave somewhere in the depths of the Sahara looking at a 2004 Lonely Planet guide to Burkina Faso and picking out their target – “oh, the Splendide is where all the hip foreigners stay, ah, and there are plenty of kafir employees and prostitutes to shoot too. Allah be praised!”
I’m joking about serious matters, of course. People are dying, probably while I’m writing this. According to the news feed from lefaso.net the gendarmerie (the military police) have surrounded the building as of 2145 or so and are ready to assault. There are hostages inside. And two gendarmes were killed in a separate attack earlier in the evening at a rural post in the north of the country – perhaps an attempt at a distraction.
I had dinner in a nice restaurant not too far from my house, at about the time the attack was taking place, and stopped by my usual maquis on the way home. There, my friends told me about the attack and suggested I would be better off at home. My omelette seller said the same thing as I passed his shop on the way back to my house. And then when I got home the embassy called and made the same suggestion. I suspect that the dangerous people are all in the hotel downtown, but I’m not going to argue with the unanimous opinion of my local advisors. So I’m home, writing this.
Two darkened planes flew over half an hour or so ago. They looked like military transport planes. I wonder if French or American “technical assistance” is on the scene.
Image from a few minutes ago, image credit to Burkina 24. Several vehicles burning in front of the hotel, apparently from a car bomb. Police vehicles in the foreground.