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A soldiers stands guard in front of Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, January 17, 2016, a day after security forces retook the hotel from al Qaeda fighters who seized it in an assault that killed two dozen people from at least 18 countries and marked a major escalation of Islamist militancy in West Africa. REUTERS/Joe Penney

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OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Authorities in Burkina Faso have arrested six people suspected of involvement in a militant attack in January claimed by al Qaeda's regional branch in which 32 people were killed at a cafe and hotel in the capital.

The suspects arrested on Monday had sheltered the attackers, three of whom were killed during the Jan. 15 raid, and were in contact with the mastermind of the plot, the Burkina Faso gendarmerie said in a statement on Wednesday.

The raid on the popular Cappuccino cafe in downtown Ouagadougou and the Hotel Splendid, which faces the cafe, killed people from 11 nations and wounded 71. It was the first militant attack of its kind in the West African country.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its affiliates also claimed responsibility for high profile attacks in Mali and Ivory Coast in November 2015 and March this year respectively.

(Reporting by Mathieu Bonkoungou; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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