Gunfire heard at Mali resort area popular with foreigners

Patrice Gainsbourg
Junho 20, 2017

The assailant was followed by three other people in another vehicle and took more than 30 people hostage, leaving at least two dead.

Two people have been killed in an attack on a resort outside Mali's capital, a security ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

"Unfortunately, I can confirm that there were two victims among our European Union colleagues, a Malian woman and a Portuguese man", Mogherini said after an EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg.

The statement Monday said the hotel was an approved rest and recreation location for soldiers on duty with the European Union mission. It was not immediately clear how the attackers managed to overpower the security staff and shoot at guests.

Anti-terrorism forces from several countries arrived at the scene soon after the attack and surrounded the hotel. Four of the attackers were killed, according to the Mali Ministry of Security.

It has been targeted constantly by terrorists, with dozens of peacekeepers killed, including five on Saturday. While there is no certainty yet about the number of assailants, Mali's Security Minister Salif Traore said that at least five had been shot dead.

Jihadis attacked the hotel resort on Sunday afternoon, yelling "Allah Akbar" and taking hostages.

Witnesses said that Malian and global troops have rushed to the scene. 19 French soldiers have been reported to have been killed since the operation started in 2013.

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The attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda's North African affiliate Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

At least two tourists were killed and 32 others were rescued in the attack.

The US embassy in Bamako had said that there is a chance of "possible future attacks on Western diplomatic missions, other locations in Bamako that Westerners frequent".

While the militants were officially ousted, they have continued to launch regular attacks on United Nations peacekeeping and Malian military sites.

Mali has been fighting a jihadist insurgency for several years, with Islamist fighters active in the country's northern and central regions.

French president Emmanuel Macron spoke to the leader of Mali after the attack and pledged his country's full support for the country, Mr Macron's office said on Monday.

In recent years, the extremists have become more brazen, attacking sites frequented by Westerners in the capital of Bamako.

As night fell, witnesses saw smoke rising from the Campement Kangaba, which features three swimming pools and is a popular escape from the Malian heat.

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