Gunmen attack Radisson hotel in Mali capital, take 170 people hostage

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Two gunmen have “locked in” 140 guests and 30 employees in an ongoing hostage-taking at the Radisson hotel in Bamako, the hotel chain said in a statement on Friday.

“The Rezidor Hotel Group… is aware of the hostage-taking that is ongoing at the property today, 20th November 2015. As per our information two persons have locked in 140 guests and 30 employees,” the company said.

Automatic weapons fire could be heard from outside the 190-room hotel, where government forces have set up a security cordon.

“It’s all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,” a security source told.

The shooting follows a nearly 24-hour siege and hostage-taking at another hotel in August in the central Malian town of Sevare.

Four soldiers, five UN workers and four attackers were killed.

Islamist groups have continued to wage attacks in Mali despite a June peace deal between former Tuareg rebels in the north of the country and rival pro-government armed groups.

Northern Mali fell in March-April 2012 to Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups long concentrated in the area before being ousted by an ongoing French-led military operation launched in January 2013.

Despite the peace deal, large swathes of Mali remain beyond the control of government and foreign forces.

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