Al Qaeda affiliated group attacks hotel in Mali

Al Qaeda affiliated group claims responsibility for Mali attack killing at least 27, injuring many others after taking at least 170 people hostage

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Malian police officer stands guard in front of the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali, November 20, 2015

Updated Nov 21, 2015

A militant group affiliated with Al Qaeda on Friday claimed responsibility for killing at least 27 people and wounding several others at a Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital Bamako.     

Al Mourabitoun, a militant group based in northern Mali and composed mostly of Tuaregs and Arabs, posted a message on Twitter claiming it was behind the attack on the Radisson Blu hotel.    

Security sources said the attack began with gunfire from automatic weapons heard from outside the 190-room hotel, where security forces set up a security cordon.

A security official who did not give his name said, "It is all happening on the seventh floor, militants are firing in the corridor."

Rezidor Group, the company that runs the hotel, said it believed that there were two gunmen, while security sources claimed as many as 10 gunmen had stormed the building.

Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced a 10 day state of emergency and three days of mourning after the deadly hotel attack.

Keita, who returned earlier than expected from his visit to a regional summit in Chad, confirmed that two militants died.

At least 27 people were reported dead after Malian commandos stormed the hotel with at least 170 people inside.

The incident is the latest string of terror attacks from Beirut, downing of Russian jet in Siani and Paris. 

US President Barack Obama condemned the attack as he confirmed that one US citizen was amoung the deceased.

"On behalf of the American people I want to extend our deepest condolences to the people of Mali and the victims' families, including at least one American."

"The United States will be relentless against those who target our citizens," Obama added. 

China's President Xi Jinping also deplored the attack which left three Chinese nationals dead.

"China will strengthen cooperation with international society to resolutely fight violent terrorist activities that hurt innocent lives, to maintain world peace and tranquility," China Central Television quoted Xi as saying.

Similarly, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack in Mali's capital, where UN peacekeepers saw more than two dozen bodies.

"The secretary-general condemns the horrific terrorist attacks at the Radisson Hotel in Bamako, which killed an unknown number of civilians and injured many more," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

What do we know so far?

The attack at the Radisson Blu hotel, which is located near government ministries and diplomatic offices in the former French colony, came just a week after DAESH terrorists killed 129 people in the Paris terror attacks on Nov 13 and a day after French President Francois Hollande praised his countries military forces for their struggle against "terrorist groups" in the African nation.

Hollande said, "France is leading this war with its armed forced, its soldiers, its courage. It must carry out this war with its allies, its partners giving us all the means available, as we did in Mali, as we are going to continue in Iraq, as we'll continue in Syria."

Another hostage crisis and shooting incident took at another hotel in August in the central Malian town of Sevare, in which four soldiers, five UN workers and four attackers were killed during the siege.

Although a peace deal was struck between former Tuareg rebels in the north of the country and rival government supporting armed groups in June, a huge part of Mali remains beyond the control of government and UN forces.

Before a military operation led by France was launched in January 2013, northern Mali fell in March-April 2012 to Al Qaeda-linked groups in the area.

TRTWorld and agencies