In Bamako, the capital city of the West African Country of Mali, gunmen have taken control of the Radisson Blu luxury hotel holding 170 guests and staff as hostages. Turkish Airlines have reported that six staff members have been caught up in the incident.
According to eye-witness reports from the ground there has been an immediate response by Malian Security Forces who have stormed the building and have been successful in freeing a least a dozen hostages although 3 hostage deaths have been reported.
Also, present on the scene were Malian police and Malian Special forces, as well as UN peacekeeping troops stationed in the area with French Troops involved with Operation Barkhane, a French campaign against Islamist militants in Mali. According to a Malian security official “two or three” gunmen were behind the attack.
The US based parent company of Radisson Blu confirmed the hostage situation and reported 2 persons have taken hostage 140 guests and 30 employees.
The US embassy in Mali has issued a statement warning any American Citizens in the country and advising them to keep in touch with families back home and monitor the local media.
This attack follows another hotel attack in Mali in August earlier this year in the town of Sevare which led to the death of 5 UN workers, 4 government soldiers and four rebels. This is despite a peace deal that was reached in June between Tuareg rebels and pro-government militias.
However, despite the peace deal, the government has still not regained control of large parts of the country after northern Mali fell under the control of militant groups with thighs to Al-quada. In 2012. They introduced a strict form of Sharia Law in the region.
This week, a high ranking militant leader has called for further attacks on French forces stationed in the country helping the government to fight militants.