Death toll from Mali hotel attack rises to 12

Bamako, Aug 9 (IANS) At least 12 people, including five soldiers, two civilians and one UN staff, have been killed after unknown militants on Friday attacked a hotel in central Mali, Malian officials said.

Four hostages have been freed from the Byblos hotel used by UN staff, according to the Directorate of Information and Public Affairs of the Malian Army on Saturday, adding that four militants were also killed in the raid, Xinhua reported.

Radhia Achour, a spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, confirmed that the released hostages were UN contractors — two South Africans, one Russian and one Ukrainian.

Choguel Kokala Maiga, spokesperson of the Malian government, said the Malian troops are searching for surrounding buildings of the hotel in order to capture fleeing militants.

Maiga said the identities of the attackers have not been confirmed.

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