The Latest: Burkina Faso says 2 Australians kidnapped

In this image taken from video from AP Television, plain-clothed policemen leading people away near the Splendid Hotel, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The SITE Intelligence Group reports that an al-Qaida affiliate is claiming responsibility for the ongoing siege on an upscale hotel and cafe in Burkina Faso's capital where an unknown number of hostages are being held. (AP Television via AP)

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) – The latest developments in the assault of a hotel by al-Qaida-linked gunmen in Burkina Faso’s capital. All times are local:

4:40 p.m.

Burkina Faso’s Minister of Security and Internal Affairs Simon Compaore says that the two foreigners kidnapped in the country’s north are Australian, not Austrian as the ministry’s spokeswoman had announced earlier. The Australian doctor and his wife who were kidnapped were abducted in Djibo, the capital of the northern Soum province. A journalist in the region said the Australian couple has lived there since 1972, volunteering in health services.

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4:15 p.m.

French President Francois Hollande confirmed that French special forces helped to end the attack on a hotel in Burkina Faso in which 23 people were killed as well as the four attackers. The French Foreign Ministry said forensic officers and medical teams are working at the site.

Hollande said that the extremists were trying to attack “our life, our spirit, our trust in the future, our hope that we represent a just and democratic society. We must continue, continue to live, to act, to raise our hope, notably for future generations.”

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3:45 p.m.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond condemned the attack by Islamic extremists in Burkina Faso’s capital in which 23 people were killed as well as four jihadist attackers. In a statement Hammond said the attack was “appalling” and said the United Kingdom “stands with President Kabore and the people of Burkina Faso in the fight against terrorism.”

Hammond also advised British nationals in Burkina Faso to avoid the area where the attack took place and to follow travel advice offered by the British government.

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2:15 p.m.

Norway’s foreign minister says the purpose of the deadly assault of a hotel by al-Qaida-linked gunmen in Burkina Faso’s capital “apparently is to weaken the democratic process in the country.”

In a statement to Norway’s news agency NTB, Borge Brende said Saturday the “vulnerable” West African country has “just gotten its first democratically elected government.” Brende said “it is important that the positive development we recently have seen continues” so Burkina Faso can “progress in the right direction.”

At least 23 people have been killed, as well as four extremist attackers, when a deadly assault was launched on a hotel in the capital, Ouagadougou.

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12:05 p.m

Denmark’s Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen says Denmark will assess “with international partners” if it is safe for Denmark’s Australian-born Crown Princess Mary and himself to travel to Burkina Faso later this month on an official visit.

Jensen says they will not travel “if there is a situation where we cannot guarantee the security of the crown princess.”

He spoke Saturday after the deadly assault of a hotel by al-Qaida-linked gunmen in Ouagadougou. At least 23 people have been killed, as well as four extremist attackers.

The 43-year-old crown princess and Jensen are scheduled to travel to the West African country Jan. 24-26, to see firsthand the situation for women’s rights and health, and Burkina Faso’s democratic situation.

Also Saturday, Denmark’s foreign ministry updated its travel advisory to warn Danes in Burkina Faso to stay away from public places.

Previously reported.

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