All hostages ‘freed’ at Mali hotel, al-Qaeda affiliated group claims responsibility


Bamako (Mali): Gunmen on Friday attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako, killing at least three people, taking hostage some 170 people including 20 Indians. All hostages, including Indians, were evacuated as security forces launched a counter-assault.

LIVE updates:

All hostages have been freed at the besieged hotel in Mali capital, Bamako, BBC reported quoting a minister in Mali government.

Supporters of al-Qaeda-affiliated group have claimed responsibility for the attack in Mali: Reports

Six US citizens have been recovered from the Radisson hotel in Mali capital, Bamako, a US military spokesman said.

According to reports, the gunmen are currently holding up at the seventh floor of the hotel as Malian special forces advance to neutralize them.

US special forces are assisting in Mali hotel hostage recovery: Pentagon

“Two Germans have been released from the besieged hotel,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier said.

Sékouba “Bambino” Diabate, a Guinean singer, one of the 170 hostages help by armed gunmen at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, overheard the terrorists speaking English. He said:

“I heard them say in English ‘Did you load it?’ ‘Let’s go’… I wasn’t able to see them because in these kinds of situations it’s hard.”

According to reports, the rescue operation by the US, French and Malian forces is underway. 125 guests and 13 staff are reportedly still being held hostage by the attackers who number between two and 13.

The hotel has announced a telephone helpline.

All 20 Indians who had been staying at the Radisson Blu hotel are safe, the Indian Embassy in Mali has said. An embassy official told the BBC:

“They are in a block of the hotel which is slight off the main area. They are employees of a private business enterprise. We are in touch with them.”

The attackers arrived at same time as a car with diplomatic plates, but were not in it, says Mali’s Security Ministry.

According to reports, a hostage freed from the besieged Mali hotel “heard attackers speaking English”.

The French counter-terrorist and hostage rescue specialist GIGN anti-terror unit is on its way to Mali capital Bamako.

Air France has confirmed that its 12 crew members in Bamako hotel have been freed and are in a secure location. Airfrance statement

According to reports, a second assault is underway in the Bamako hotel, led by US and French special forces.

The French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, says France will take “all steps necessary” to combat the Bamako attackers. A crisis unit is set up in the local French embassy in this regard.

According to reports, 5 Turkish Airlines employees have been freed from the besieged hotel in Bamako.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack in Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako.

Mali State TV claims as many as 80 hostages have been freed from the besieged hotel in Mali.

The UN says it has sent reinforcements to the ongoing siege at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako.Un statement

The Islamist gunmen were moving floor by floor through the building and had arrived at the seventh floor, a senior security source was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“They are in the process of going floor by floor, room by room. They’ve now arrived at the seventh floor,” he said.

According to reports, as many as 15 Indians are among the hostages at the Mali hotel. The Indians, who work for a Dubai-based Indian firm, are safe, NDTV reported.

“I saw corpses. It’s horrible,” a released hostage was quoted as saying by Le Parisien.

A Turkey’s Foreign Ministry official has confirmed that six Turkish Airlines personnel were staying at the besieged hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako, ABC reported.

Mali army commander says about 20 hostages have been freed from Bamako hotel seized by the gunmen, according to reports.

US President Barack Obama has been briefed by his national security advisor on the terrorist attack and hostage incident at Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako, a White House official said.

Obama, currently in Malaysia, had asked his team to keep him apprised of the ongoing situation in Mali.

Three deaths have been confirmed so far – 2 from Mali, 1 from France in the Radisson hotel in Bamako.

After reports of Air France crew being held hostages in the Mali hotel, the airlines said they were monitoring the situation.

Several Chinese guests are among those “trapped” at the hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said.

“A Chinese guest surnamed Chen told Xinhua via WeChat mobile app that he was among a number of Chinese guests trapped in the hotel,” Xinhua said.

The gunmen have reportedly released some of the hostages held, including those who could recite the Quran, according to NEWS On 247.

Here’s the statement released by the US embassy in Mali capital:Statement US

“The Rezidor hotel group, which manages the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, understands that a hostage-taking is under way at the site today,” the group said in a statement, adding, “According to our information, two people are holding 140 clients and 30 employees”.

The US Embassy in Mali has asked citizens to shelter in place amid reports of an ‘‘ongoing active shooter operation’’ at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako.

The 190-room hotel had been taken over by the gunmen with 170 hostages, including guests and staff. A firefight was on between the security forces and the attackers.

According to reports, the jihadists had entered the hotel in a diplomatic car and were “walking calmly”.

“It’s all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,” a security source told a news agency.

French and Dutch troops are stationed in Mali.

(With inputs from agencies)