27 killed in Mali hotel siege

Bamako, Nov 21 (IANS) Suspected militant gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako, taking 170 people hostage that left at least 27 people dead, media reports said on Saturday.

Heavily armed gunmen on Friday fired indiscriminately at guests at the Radisson Blu Hotel hosting diplomats and others, which is about 15 minutes away from the Bamako Senou International Airport, CNN reported.

They had locked in 140 guests and 30 employees out of which 20 were Indians who were later freed as security forces launched a counter-assault.

Security sources said two attackers had been killed, but it remained unknown if the attackers were among the 27.

Al Mourabitoun, an Islamist militant group, claimed it was jointly responsible for the attack.

The group announced it carried out the attack with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The hotel was hosting a large delegation for the Mali peace process that began on Thursday which according to Mongi Hamdi, head of MINUSMA, might have been a motive for the attck.

“I think this attack has been perpetrated by negative forces, terrorists, who do not want to see peace in Mali,” Hamdi said.

Meanwhile, the Malian government has declared a 10-day nationwide state of emergency nad it has also called for three days of mourning, Xinhua news agency reported.

The siege ended when Malian troops along with forces from MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, US and French troops secured the palatial hotel.

Some hostages succeeded in escaping by their own means while the majority of them were rescued by the special forces.

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