Jihadists launch shooting rampage and take hostages in Africa NOVEMBER 20, 201510:21PM
NOVEMBER 20, 201510:21PM
Active shooter at the Radisson Hotel in Bamako, Mali
AT least nine people have been killed after two gunmen, reported to be jihadists, took 170 people hostage at a hotel in Mali, West Africa.AUTHORITIES are currently raiding the West African hotel at the centre of a siege.
However, at least 80 of the hostages have now been released, including 12 Air France workers.
The alarm was raised when the US embassy posted to Twitter warning locals of an “ongoing active shooter operation” at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, a hotel reportedly popular with French expats.
A government minister previously confirmed that two Mali locals and one French national lost their lives in the siege.There has been multiple reports of fatalities and up to 12 gunmen, but no official confirmation has been made yet.
There are also reports that a large number of the hostages are of French origin.
ChannelNewsAsia reported six Turkish Airlines staff were among the hostages, but a Turkish official has confirmed three have escaped unharmed. AFP has reported there at least seven Chinese hostages.
However, Mali security forces have just escorted two women from the besieged hotel, according to AFP. There are also reports that at least 20 hostages have been released after being forced to recite lines from the Koran.
Outside … The Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako. Picture: TripadvisorSource:Supplied
The embassy warned all staff and US citizens to find shelter, and to contact their families.
Automatic weapons could be heard firing from the 190-room hotel, which has been cordoned off by security.
A security source told Associated Press that everything is happening on the seventh floor of the building.
“Jihadists are firing in the corridor,” the security source said.
In a statement, the hotel chain said they were aware of the hostage situation.
Islamic extremists previously took control of northern Mali in 2012 and prompted a France-led military intervention.
Scene of attack … The atrium of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako. Picture: TripAdvisorSource:Supplied
In March, masked gunmen shot up a Bamako restaurant popular with foreigners, killing five people.
Then in September, a 24-hour siege at another Mali hotel ended with the deaths of five UN workers.