Islamic Extremist Groups Execute Joint Attack on Hotel in Mali

Early on Friday morning, a group of armed gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in the Malian capital city of Bamako. After gaining control of the hotel, the attackers fended off police and military units in a hostage crisis that lasted until late afternoon.

Mali

When the gunmen entered the hotel, security guards exchanged fire with them in an attempt to resist. However, the attackers were armed with automatic rifles and quickly overpowered building security. Reports from Bamako have said that the gunmen then began scouring the hotel room by room and taking guests as hostages. Guests who, upon questioning, were able to recite specific verses from the Koran, however, were allowed to go free. This, coupled with the reported shouting of the phrase “Allahu Akbar”, led authorities to suspect early on in the siege that the group was composed of Muslim fundamentalists.

 

Over the course of the day, Malian security forces worked with French special forces which were stationed nearby to evacuate guests from the hotel while keeping the attackers pinned down inside. Radisson has stated that as many as 140 guests were at the hotel in total, with a staff of roughly 30 also present. During the attack and the subsequent hostage standoff, 21 were people were killed. The remaining guests and staff of the hotel had been evacuated by early afternoon. At last reports, the attackers had no remaining hostages are were being chased by Malian authorities. Two of the gunmen are reported to have died at the scene.

 

While no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, a video released later in the day by the Islamic fundamentalist group Al Mourabitoun claimed that they had been responsible, The attack, the video said, was carried out in cooperation with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a north African affiliate of the main Al Qaeda body that arose in the power vacuum left by fall of former Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi.  The video also listed Al Mourabitoun’s demands for the release of prisoners currently incarcerated in France and a cessation of hostilities by the Malian government against it and other fundamentalist groups in northern Mali.

 

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/20/africa/mali-shooting/index.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34886537

http://www.latimes.com/world/africa/la-fg-shooting-at-mali-hotel-20151120-story.html

Image Credit:

By Arensond (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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