3 Killed, Over 100 Taken Hostage During Stand-Off Near U.S. Embassy In Mali

Three people were killed and over 100 people were taken hostage at an international hotel in Mali, West Africa, BBC News reports.

The attack began around 7 a.m. Friday morning when two to three possible gunmen arrived at the U.S-owned Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital of Bamako in cars with diplomatic plates. While shouting, “God is Great!” the suspects took nearly 170 residents and employees hostage.

Malian special forces have begun a counterassault. So far this morning, 80 people have been freed. The three killed were two Malian nationals and a French journalist.

A security official told reporters those who could correctly recite verses of the Koran were freed.

BBC News reports:

Among the other guests staying at the hotel are six Turkish Airlines staff, 20 Indian nationals and reports of up to 10 Chinese citizens. The UN peacekeeping force said it was supporting the operation as Malian special forces are reported to be freeing hostages “floor by floor”.

An Ivorian guest said she and six other people 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,” Monique Kouame Affoue Ekonde told the AP news agency.

Over the past two weeks, an influx of attacks from Boko Haram and the Islamic State have taken over international waters in Paris and Lebanon. French President Francois Hollande said he is in touch with Malian authorities, but neither group has yet claimed responsibility.

This is a developing story…

SOURCE: BBC | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform

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