On the morning of 20th of November, between 7:00am and 7:30 am, two islamist gunmen entered into the Radisson Blue Hotel in Bamako, one of the most luxurious hotels in Mali capital. Some reports suggest they were driving a vehicle with diplomatic plates, which would suggest they got in without being stopped by the guardians.

There are 170 reported hostages and local reporters claim 80 have been released. The Mali army commander Modibo Nama Traore said the gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu hotel shouting “Allahu Akbar” before shooting at guards and taking hostages. Some hostages, including those able to recite verses of the Qur’an, were later released, security sources told Reuters. Mali special forces are currently in the hotel and exchanged fire with the gunmen. The UN and France has sent security reinforcement to the scene. France’s president, François Hollande, said everything possible was being done to end the siege.

UN Reported Increasing Violence in Mali

Just a few days ago, the top United Nations relief official in Mali, Mbaranga Gasarabwe, condemned the increasing violence against humanitarian organisations on the strife-torn country.

On the 11th of November an explosive device was set off at the entrance of a building housing an NGO in Menaka (Mali) – the explosion caused no injuries, but it was signal of a very disturbing trend. The Radisson Blue Hotel in  the Mali capital is just in the west of the  city centre in a neighbourhood that is home to government ministries and diplomats and also one of the most popular areas among tourists.
Northern Mali was occupied by Islamist fighters, some with links to al Qaeda, back in 2012. They were driven out by a French-led military operation, but sporadic violence continued in Mali’s central belt on the southern reaches of the Sahara, and in Bamako.
More details about the Mali Attack are emerging as the events unleash – follow the hashtag #MaliAttacks on Twitter.
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