Mali hotel siege: what we know now

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Friday 20 November 2015 15:30
news

The hostage situation at a hotel in Bamako, Mali is over after government forces and US and French troops have stormed the building.

What we know so far:

  • A spokesperson for the hotel has said that 138 people, 125 guests and 13 employees, were inside the building during the attack at 7am this morning, scaled down from the original estimate of 170

  • Grenades and automatic weapons are reported to have been used in the initial assault by around 10 men on the luxury Radisson Blu hotel, popular with expats and tourists

  • A security source told AFP the attack was unfolding “on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor”

  • A witness told Reuters that the attackers spoke in English and shouted 'Allahu Akbar' in Arabic (God is great)

  • Around 80 people were freed throughout the day. There were reports that the hostage takers were letting those who can recite from the Quran go free

  • At least 18 bodies have been recovered from the hotel. It is not clear whether they are victims or gunmen

  • A UN official has confirmed at least four people, two Malian, one French and one Belgian national, are dead

  • African Jihadist group Al-Mourabitoun, affiliated with al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the attack

The assault comes in the wake of another hostage situation in August in the central Malian town of Sevare. Attackers with suspected jihadist links killed 13 people, including five United Nations workers, during a siege.

Mali and UN peacekeeping forces have been grappling with the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM) insurgency in the north of the country since 2012 as well as conflicts with other rebel groups and Tuareg tribes.

More from The Independent: Where is the Mali hotel attack taking place - and which terror groups are active in Bamako?

More from The Independent: Mali hotel hostage siege live: Gunmen release captives 'if they can recite the Quran' in Bamako

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