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  Mali hunts 3 hotel attack suspects

Mali hunts 3 hotel attack suspects

AFP
Published : Nov 21, 2015, 11:05 pm IST
Updated : Nov 21, 2015, 11:05 pm IST

Terror won’t win: Prez Keita; Putin seeks global anti-terrorism fight

Terror won’t win: Prez Keita; Putin seeks global anti-terrorism fight

Investigators in Mali were on Saturday hunting at least three people suspected of links to the jihadist siege at a luxury hotel in the capital that left 27 people dead.

 

The government has declared a state of emergency after the bloody nine-hour hostage-taking at the Rad-isson Blu hotel in Bamako on Friday, exactly a week after the Paris massacre.

The Al-Murabitoun group, an Al Qaeda affiliate led by notorious one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, nicknamed the “Uncatchable” or “Mr Marlboro”, claimed the attack.

Gunmen went on the rampage through the hotel from the early morning, shooting in the corridors and taking 170 guests and staff hostage, many of them foreigners.

The assault, which en-ded when Malian and international troops stor-med the hotel, left 27 people dead as well as two attackers, President Ibra-him Boubacar Keita said. The victims included Russian, Chinese, Belgian, American and Senegalese nationals.

 

A Malian military source had said earlier there were at least 27 dead, while at least “three terrorists had been killed or blown themselves up.”

Authorities are now “actively pursuing” at least three people over the attack in the former French colony, one security source told AFP.

Mr Keita visited the site of the carnage on Saturday as Mali prepared to begin three days of national mourning on Monday. “Terror will not win,” Mr Keita said in a televised address. “Long live Mali.”

A security cordon remained in place around the Radisson and security was also boosted around public buildings and banks and other hotels.

The attack came as fears mount over terrorist threats a week after 130 people died in the devastating Paris attacks claimed by ISIS, which also said it had downed a Russian passenger jet in Egypt on October 31.

 

US President Barack Obama and his Russian and Chinese counterparts Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping all condemned the attack.

“This barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge,” Mr Obama said of the global terrorist threat. Mr Putin said on Saturday that he wanted global cooperation to combat terrorism in the wake of the Islamist militant attack.

Mali has been torn apart by unrest since the north fell under the control of jihadist groups linked to Al Qaeda in 2012.The Islamists were largely ousted by a French-led military operation launched the following year, but large swathes of Mali remain lawless.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned Friday’s “horrific terrorist attack,” suggesting the violence was aimed at destroying peace efforts in the country.

 

The assault began around 0700 GMT on Friday, when gunmen pulled up at the hotel and starting shooting their way inside, taking guests and staff hostage.

Malian television broadcast chaotic scenes from inside the building as the police and other security personnel ushered bewildered guests along corridors to safety.

Location: Mali, Bamako