Islamic extremists attack hotel in Mali’s Capital

November 2015BAMAKO, Mali Islamic extremists stormed a luxury hotel in Mali’s capital on Friday, killing at least three people and taking about 170 hostages in a city that serves as a logistics hub for French forces helping in a fight against Islamist insurgents. The Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel group that operates the hotel said the assailants had “locked in” 140 guests and 30 employees. Malian troops reacted quickly. As people ran for their lives near the hotel along a dirt road, the soldiers in full combat gear pointed the way to safety. Within hours, local TV images showed heavily armed troops in what appeared to be a lobby area. Malian state TV reported that 80 people in the hotel when the assault began have been freed.
Malian Special Forces were freeing hostages “floor by floor,” Malian army commander Modibo Nama Traore told The Associated Press. Traore said at least one guest earlier reported that the attackers instructed him to recite verses from the Quran before he was allowed to leave the hotel. It was not immediately clear which Muslim extremist groups might be behind the attack, which unfolded one week after the attacks on Paris that killed 129 people. A handful of jihadi groups seized the northern half of Mali — a former French colony — in 2012 and were ousted from cities and towns by a French military intervention.
French President Francois Hollande said: “We should yet again stand firm and show our solidarity with a friendly country, Mali.” Traore said 10 gunmen had stormed the hotel shouting “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” in Arabic before firing on the guards. A staffer at the hotel who gave his name as Tamba Diarra said over the phone that the attackers used grenades in the assault. The U.S. Embassy in Mali told citizens to shelter in place amid reports of an “ongoing active shooter operation” at the hotel in Bamako. Monique Kouame Affoue Ekonde, from Ivory Coast, said she and six other people, including a Turkish woman, were escorted out by security forces as the gunmen rushed “toward the fifth or sixth floor.”
“I think they are still there. I’ve left the hotel and I don’t know where to go. I’m tired and in a state of shock,” she said. A top official at the French presidency said French citizens were in the hotel but could not give more. The official spoke anonymously in line with presidency policy. Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders said that four Belgians were registered at the hotel but their whereabouts were unknown. Citing Chinese diplomats in Mali, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported that about 10 Chinese citizens were sheltering inside their hotel rooms. The embassy was in phone contact with them and all were reported safe, according to the report. All are employees of Chinese companies working in Mali.
Five Turkish Airlines personnel were among the freed hostages, Turkey’s state-run news agency said. The website of the official China Daily newspaper also cited an unidentified witness as saying one Chinese citizen had been rescued. The U.N. mission said it was sending security reinforcements and medical aid to the scene. Ambulances were seen rushing to the hotel as a military helicopter flew overhead. Even after the French-led military intervention in early 2013 that forced the extremists from northern towns and cities, the north remains insecure and militant attacks have extended farther south this year, including the capital. In March masked gunmen shot up a restaurant in Bamako that is popular with foreigners, killing five people.
About 1,000 French troops remain in the country. The Netherlands also has troops working with the UN mission in Mali. According to the Dutch defense ministry, some 450 Dutch military personnel are taking part in the mission along with four Apache and three Chinook helicopters. Most of the Dutch force is based in Gao, but there are a few officers at the U.N. mission headquarters in Bamako.  –NY Times

Mali 2

The jihadist reign of terror continues with another massacre
Gun-toting jihadists took more than 100 people hostage for around nine hours at a top hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako in an attack that’s left at least 21 people dead. The assault, which was claimed by the Al-Murabitoun group of notorious one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, added to fears over the global jihadist threat, a week after the devastating Paris attacks that killed 130 people. Those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group. The Malian government declared a 10-day nationwide state of emergency on Friday evening over the assault and called three days of mourning for the victims, who included three Chinese, an American and a Belgian.
The gunmen shot their way inside the hotel and taking guests and staff hostage. Malian television broadcast chaotic scenes from inside the building as police and other security personnel ushered bewildered guests along corridors to safety. Special Forces staged a dramatic floor-by-floor rescue, ending the siege after about nine hours. The hostage-taking is over. “We are in the process of securing the hotel,” a Malian military source said as civil protection officers removed the victims in orange body bags.
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said on state television that 21 people, including the two militants, had been killed, with seven people wounded. Two US special forces members who happened to be in the area also helped in the operation. Beijing’s state media said that three Chinese citizens had been killed while a further four managed to escape. A senior US State Department official confirmed a US citizen was among the victims with another dozen Americans surviving the attack.  –9 News

Utopia News In Depth

(CNN)—Gunmen who raided a Malian hotel hollered “Allahu akbar” as they sprayed bullets on tables of people who were gathered for breakfast, a witness said. The attackers did not say a word to anyone as they opened fire Friday morning, employee Tamba Couye said. They shot at “anything that moved” as terrified patrons dashed for cover all over the hotel, he said.
By the time Malian and U.N. security forces rushed in and ended the siege hours later, bodies were scattered across the floors of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako. At least 19 people were killed in the attack, said Olivier Salgado, a spokesman for the U.N. mission in the nation. In addition, two attackers died, he said, but it’s unclear whether security forces killed them or they blew themselves up. –CNN
This entry was posted in Act of terrorism, Acts of Agression, Arms Race, Civil Unrest, Civil War and Conflict, Conflict Among Nations, Escalating hostilities, Ethnic tensions, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Immigration surge, Mass Shootings, Nations Collapse, Population Exodus, Preparation for War, Protests, Refugee Crisis, Religious War, Resource War, Rumors of War, Social Meltdown, Terrorism threat, Violence. Bookmark the permalink.

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