Mali hostage crisis ends as security forces gun down militants; 27 killed

"It's all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor," a security source told AFP.

By: Agencies | Bamako | Updated: November 20, 2015 10:09 pm
mali, mali attack The company that runs the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital says assailants have taken hostages in a brazen assault involving grenades. (AP Photo)

At least 27 people were reported dead on Friday after Malian commandos stormed a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako with at least 170 people inside, many of them foreigners, that had been seized by Islamist gunmen.

The former French colony has been battling Islamist rebels for several years, and the jihadist group Al Mourabitoun, allied to al Qaeda and based in the deserts of northern Mali, claimed responsibility for the attack in a tweet.

Nine hours after the siege of the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital town by extremists in a hail of fire from automatic guns, security minister Salif Traore announced the end of the hostage crisis after two gunmen were killed by security forces.

“They currently have no more hostages in their hands and forces are in the process of tracking them down,” security minister Salif Traore told a news conference following the stand-off.

MALI1

The incident came a week after the deadly terror attack in Paris. Though there was no direct link between the two incidents, Mali has been at the centre of French military operations against Islamists in north Africa.

“Good news! All 20 Indians in the hotel in Bamako have been safely evacuated. Our Ambassador in Mali has confirmed,” the External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson tweeted.

Employees of a Dubai-based company, these Indians were staying in the hotel permanently, the Spokesperson said in New Delhi.

Mali’s north fell under the control of Tuareg rebels and jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda in mid-2012 before they were beaten back by a French-led operation in early 2013.

As the drama in Bamako was unfolding, EU ministers agreed at an emergency meeting in Brussels to tighten border controls after the Paris massacre which was orchestrated by a jihadist who had travelled between Syria and France.

Prosecutors in Paris also confirmed that three people had died at a house in a north Paris suburb used as a hideout by suspected attacks ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, including him and his female cousin.

Abaaoud, a Belgian of Moroccan origin, and cousin Hasna Aitboulahcen were killed in an assault by anti-terror police on Wednesday. The identity of the third body has not been disclosed.

Gunmen entered the 190-room hotel compound at around 0700 GMT (1230 IST) in a car with diplomatic plates and automatic gunfire was heard from outside, security sources said.

Earlier, the hotel’s owner, the Rezidor Hotel Group, said 138 people were still inside, with employees of the French and Turkish national airlines as well as Chinese among known to be those staying there.

As it happened

9:48 pm Mali hotel gunmen holding no more hostages: security minister

8:37 pm An African Jihadist group affiliated with al Qaeda claimed responsibility on Friday for the attack and ongoing hostage-taking at a business hotel in the Malian capital Bamako. Al-Mourabitoun, a group based in northern Mali and made up mostly of Tuaregs and Arabs, posted a message on Twitter saying it was behind the attack on the Radisson Blu hotel, where hostages are still being held. The claim could not immediately be verified.

8:06 pm All 20 Indians in the hotel in Bamako have been safely evacuated. Our Ambassador in Mali has confirmed.

7:45 pm Some US military personnel in Mali were helping move civilians to secure locations amid an attack at a luxury hotel in Bamako, a US defense official said.

6:41 pm Hostage freed from Radisson hotel says he heard attackers speaking English.

5:57 pm Elite French unit heads to Mali amid hostage crisis: police.

5:40 pm: Eighty hostages freed in Mali hotel siege: local TV.

5:25 pm

5:09 pm:

4:20 pm: At least three hostages killed in Bamako hotel siege, said a minister.

4:10 pm: Mali security forces evacuate around a dozen hostages from hotel, says Ministry.

3:50 pm: Turkish airlines has six staff members inside attacked hotel in Mali capital, says Turkish official.

3:30 pm: Mali hotel gunmen free some hostages, including those able to recite verses of the Koran, security sources said.

3:09 pm 170 people taken hostage by two attackers in Bamako hotel in Mali, Manager of Radisson Blu, quoted by BBC.

3:08 pm Around 10 gunmen believed to be inside Radisson Blu Hotel, said security source.

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  1. A
    Anand Drivedi
    Nov 21, 2015 at 12:22 am
    Government should not be further burdened with the 60th birthday celebration of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar scheduled for December 13th at the cost of Rs. 30 crore. The BJP is trying to manite and get the State government to indirectly host the event but Manohar Parrikar should himself bear all the expenses of any birthday celebration he intends to hold. The BJP is planning to hold the birthday celebration on SAG grounds at Campal in Panaji with an estimated 25,000 audience along a host of BJP leaders from Delhi including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. No expenses including the hosting of the central leaders in Goa should be loaded on the tax payers. Manohar Parrikar is known for misusing power in masking BJP functions as State functions and getting the government to illegally foot the bill. Such gimmicks adopted by the BJP in the past should not be allowed. The State of Goa which is currently reeling under an acute financial crunch has even issued a circular to all departments to strictly curb all unnecessary expenditure as an austerity measure. According to BJP sources, some senior party leaders under the guise of Manohar Parrikar’s birthday celebration fund have already started asking Casino operators, Matka bookies and the Builders to pay up. Those running the flesh and drug trade will also be asked to pour, in return for the patronage and favours they are getting from the government. Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni has reportedly been kept entrusted the task of collecting from the mining lobby and business houses. Incidentally Atmaram Nadkarni’s g 50th Birthday bash at the five starred Taj Fort Aguada at Sinquerim on 23rd November 2013 was fully funded by forcibly collecting from all and sundry. It is appalling that the BJP has been stooping to such low levels after having usurped power in 2012 on a fake promise of Good Governance and Zero Tolerance to Corruption. It has however been a Parivartan for the worse with Goa only further sinking by the day. Manohar Parrikar is a Member of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh, so why is the Defence Minister not celebrating his 60th birthday in the midst of his consuents at Lucknow instead of trying to high-handedly burden Goa’s tax payers. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is throwing Rs. 30 Crore birthday bash while Ex-Servicemen are fighting for OROP. CORRUPT BJP DEFENCE MINISTER SHOULD RESIGN IMMEDIATELY.
    Reply
    1. B
      Babu Gupta
      Nov 21, 2015 at 2:02 am
      Terror has no religion - only in India. Otherwise, the religion of 'Peace and compion' is every where in the world. seculars in India either are naive, dishonest, stupid or all of that.
      Reply
      1. R
        Rajesh
        Nov 20, 2015 at 4:12 pm
        with 4 mothers, you havent answered the question.
        Reply
      2. R
        Rajesh
        Nov 20, 2015 at 4:10 pm
        That is redundant ....all Muslim countries are under the grip of jihadis.
        Reply
        1. J
          Jinnah
          Nov 20, 2015 at 7:27 pm
          BRAHMINS must BURN QURAN in front of Parliament: --- Quran declares terms like "Kafir, Jihad, Shirk" against Brahmins. -- Quran came to abolish Idol worship and Hinduism. -- Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) demolished 360 idols of Kaba and declared "I have fulfilled the command of Allah". --- Indian consution gives full freedom for 40 crore Muslims to preach and practice their faith. --- Muslims have thousands of Mosques and continue to build more Mosques across India. -- Muslims are giving Quran to Hindus and tell them "Dear Hindu brother, you are worshipping cows, monkeys, dogs, pigs, idols and what not?. Do you have any sense?. Abandon Hinduism and embrace Islam". -- Muslims have converted millions of Hindus to Islam and have even created 2 nations, stan and Bangladesh, with the help of converted Brahmins and Hindus. --- If required, Muslims can divide India once again and create another stan for 40 crore Muslims. --- But look at the pathetic treatment of Hindus at the hands of Arabs. -- Around 1.7 million Hindus are working in Saudi Arabia alone. -- Rich Hindu businessmen are investing billions of dollars in Saudi Arabia -- In short, Saudi economy will collapse without Hindus --- But still Hindus can't preach and practice their faith in Saudi. --- They don't even have one temple to worship their God. --- Why can't RSS/BJP ban Quran in India until Saudi permits them to build a Shiva temple in Mecca?.
          Reply
          1. J
            Jinnah
            Nov 20, 2015 at 7:54 pm
            BRAHMINS must BURN QURAN in front of Parliament: --- Quran declares terms like "Kafir, Jihad, Shirk" against Brahmins. -- Quran came to abolish Idol worship and Hinduism. -- Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) demolished 360 idols of Kaba and declared "I have fulfilled the command of Allah". --- Indian consution gives full freedom for 40 crore Muslims to preach and practice their faith. --- Muslims have thousands of Mosques and continue to build more Mosques across India. -- Muslims are giving Quran to Hindus and tell them "Dear Hindu brother, you are worshipping cows, monkeys, dogs, pigs, idols and what not?. Do you have any sense?. Abandon Hinduism and embrace Islam". -- Muslims have converted millions of Hindus to Islam and have even created 2 nations, stan and Bangladesh, with the help of converted Brahmins and Hindus. --- If required, Muslims can divide India once again and create another stan for 40 crore Muslims. --- But look at the pathetic treatment of Hindus at the hands of Arabs. -- Around 1.7 million Hindus are working in Saudi Arabia alone. -- Rich Hindu businessmen are investing billions of dollars in Saudi Arabia -- In short, Saudi economy will collapse without Hindus --- But still Hindus can't preach and practice their faith in Saudi. --- They don't even have one temple to worship their God. --- Why can't RSS/BJP ban Quran in India until Saudi permits them to build a Shiva temple in Mecca?.
            Reply
            1. M
              masi master
              Nov 21, 2015 at 11:19 am
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              1. D
                DILIP
                Nov 21, 2015 at 3:50 am
                All should note that Drivedi is son of a deformed beach and a crack pusher that is why he is so full of sh111t. Ignore this toss bag he is loaded with slimy cream.
                Reply
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