Militancy in Mali
Tuareg and Al Qaeda-linked Islamist fighters occupied most of northern Mali including Timbuktu and Kida, for the most part of 2012. Mali requested French help in 2013, and although a French-led military operation ousted the Islamists, sporadic violence continues.
Attack in Mali: Hostage situation ends
- An unknown number of gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako in Mali, Africa, taking 170 people hostage, and killing at least 27.
- Malian Special Forces, assisted by US and French Special Forces mounted a counter-attack on the hotel, freeing all the hostages.
- 2 gunmen have been confirmed dead and Malian security forces are "tracking" the rest of the attackers as of now.
North African Jihadist group claims responsibility
- The number of attackers involved in the hostage situation remains unknown so far, but there could be as many as 13 gunmen.
- The gunmen were reportedly heard shouting "Allahu Akbar!" when they stormed the hotel.
- Guinean singer Sékouba Diabate, who was held hostage, heard two of the attackers conversing in English.
- Al-Mourabitoun, the North African affiliate of Al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
What we know about the hostages
- Among the estimated 170 hostages, 30 were hotel staff according to hotel owners Rezidor Hotel Group, while the rest were guests.
- The Raddisson Blu Hotel had Indian, American, French, German, Chinese and Russian nationals among others.
- According to latest reports, 20 Indians, 12 French, 6 Americans, 7 Algerians, 4 Chinese, 2 Germans, 2 Russians, 1 Ivorian and 1 Guinean are among the rescued hostages.
Analysis of the Mali attack
- The attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamko comes just a day after the leader of Mali-based Islamist militant group Ansar Dine, Iyad Ag Ghaly, called for an attack on France and its interests in Mali.
- A Reuters journalist who stayed at the Radisson Blu recently, said it had very lax security consisting of only a few unarmed guards and a flimsy barrier.
Mali declares state of emergency
- A 10-day state of emergency has been declared by the government in Mali according to Malian state television.
- The announcement comes after Special Forces staged a floor-by-floor rescue operation at the Radisson Blu Hotel, ending the 9-hour long siege which left at least 27 people dead.
- The attack, coming within a week of the Paris attacks, added to fears over the global Jihadist threat.
Who is Al-Mourabitoun?
Al-Mourabitoun also claimed responsibility for killing 5 people at a restaurant attack in March 2014, 3 people in a suicide bomb attack on UN Peacekeepers in April 2015, and 19 people in a hotel attack in August 2015.