troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on
November 20, 2015. Gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury
Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako, seizing 170 gues
Gunmen shouting Islamic slogans and throwing grenades stormed a top
hotel in Mali, West Africa, late last night and took 170 people hostage.
jihadists attacked the Raddison Blu in the capital, Bamako, around 7am
local time. The hotel was believed to be full of foreigners.
weapons fire was later heard inside the 190-room hotel, where the
attackers reportedly went from floor to floor and took 140 guests and 30
Witnesses described how the gunmen allowed about 20 hostages to leave after they were able to recite verses of the Koran.
The BBC Online reported that at least three other hostages – two locals and a French citizen – had died.
army commander Modibo Nama Traore said 10 gunmen were involved, firing
shots and shouting “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is great” in Arabic before
shooting at guards and seizing their captives.
Local radio claimed the attackers got into the heavily guarded
hotel compound in a diplomatic vehicle, allowing them to avoid the
usual stringent security checks.
Just after midnight (NZT), American and French forces were reported to have entered the hotel.
Accompanied by Malian soldiers, they were moving from room to room and rescuing guests. The fate of the jihadists was unknown.
hotel attack comes just days after Isis gunmen massacred 129 people in
Paris, reportedly in retaliation for the French government’s decision to
carry out air strikes against the extremists. Early today, there were
fears that the Bamako attack may be linked to the Paris atrocities.
France is Mali’s former colonial ruler.
The hotel was hosting a
major mining conference that was about to finish, according to Aislinn
Laing, Africa correspondent for Britain’s Telegraph newspaper group.
due to speak included the Malian prime minister, government ministers,
African Development Bank representatives and directors of major mining
firms operating in Africa.
In 2012, following a military coup,
Islamic extremists took control of northern Mali, prompting a French-led
military intervention that forced the extremists from northern towns
and cities, though the north remains insecure and militant attacks have
extended farther south this year.
In March, masked gunmen shot up a Bamako restaurant that was popular with foreigners, killing five people.
There are 1000 French troops in Mali, as well as many United Nations troops.