UPDATED 11/20/15, 6:44 P.M. EST: After almost a full-day of taking hostages at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, 27 hostages and 2 jihadists were killed, and the remaining hostages were freed.
Of the dead, 12 people were found dead in the basement of the hotel and another 15 were found dead on the second floor, according to the Associated Press.
To stand in solidarity with Malians, French cartoonist Herve Baudry drew the Eiffel tower with Malian colors:
— Baudry (@hervebaudry) November 20, 2015
And according to Malian news site Maliactu, other nationalities taken as hostages Friday were Senegalese, Russian, Spanish, Ivorian, Belgian, Canadian, and German.
See more pictures of hostages escaping below:
The Malian Security Minister Salif Traore reportedly told Reuters that fighting between Mali’s special forces and the jihadists could be heard throughout the day on the upper floors of the hotel.
And later, Wolfgang M. Neumann, CEO of Rezidor, which owns Radisson Blu, released, in part, the following statement about the attack:
“I want to express my deep personal concern for all of the guests and employees affected by the terrible events which are happening today at the Radisson Blu Bamako Hotel in Mali.
“I speak on behalf of the entire Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in extending our deep sympathy to the families, colleagues and friends of all those touched by today’s events.”
UPDATED 11/20/15, 10:08 A.M. EST: Jihadist group al-Murabitoun is claiming responsibility for the attack on the Bamako hotel through its Twitter account, according to Reuters. Al-Murabitoun used to be a part of al-Qaeda but reportedly broke away from the terrorist organization. At press time, 138 people are still trapped at Radisson Blu. More details have come out about who else was in the hotel when the attack began: seven Algerians (six are diplomats), two Moroccans, two Russians, and a number of U.S. citizens. Here are some pictures of the rescue effort that is currently taking place: _____________________________________________________________________
Workers and guests of the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, are currently being held hostage by Islamic terrorist group Ansar Dine, according to various reports. Three hostages have reportedly been killed.
Friday morning, gunmen belonging to Ansar Dine, which means “supporters of religion,” reportedly entered the hotel, shooting and yelling in Arabic, “God is great!” A gardener told BBC Afrique’s Alou Diawara that while he swept the hotel yard, “[The terrorists] were in car with a diplomatic licence plate. They were masked. At the gate of the hotel, the guard stopped them and they start firing. We fled.
“They injured three security guards who were at the gate of the hotel,” the gardener added.
Other eyewitness accounts indicate that between five and 13 terrorists entered the hotel and immediately went up to the seventh floor, where the most-distinguished guests are lodged.
“It’s all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,” a security source told the AFP. At the time of the attack, there were at least 170 guests in the 190-room hotel.
Those identified were at least 10 Chinese, according to CCTV; 20 Indians, according to the Indian government; six Turkish Airline staff, according to Reuters; 30 hotel employees; and Guinean singer Sekouba Bambino. At press time, three of the Turkish Air staff as well as Bambino have been freed. According to Reuters, hostages who were able to recite the Koran were also released. Mali’s state broadcaster has indicated that 30 hostages have been freed. According to Malian journalist Moussa Konda, many hostages have been able to escape, because the militants don’t know the hotel layout.
In addition to Malian special forces, French troops, and the United Nations working to secure the hotel, 50 of France’s special forces, the Gendarmerie Nationale, have been deployed from Paris:
— GendarmerieNationale (@Gendarmerie) November 20, 2015
The attack comes just days after Ansar Dine leader Iyad Ag Ghaly called for attacks against France as well as the European nation’s interests in Mali.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time a Malian hotel has been targeted. Just this past August, 13 people were killed, including five UN workers, by suspected Islamic terrorists at a hotel in Sevare.