170 gjester og personale ble tatt som gisler da krigere stormet et luksushotell i Malis hovedstad Bamako til ropene av Allahu Akbar – Allah er større, fredag.
20 gisler skal ha blitt satt fri, de som kunne fremsi den islamske trosbekjennelsen.
Malian army commander Modibo Nama Traore told the Associated Press that 10 gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu hotel Friday morning shouting “Allahu Akbar” — “God is great” in Arabic — then fired on the guards and began taking hostages. About 20 hostages have since been freed; there are reports that the attackers were releasing those who were Muslim.
It is not clear how many people have been injured or killed in the assault. Citing a UN source, CNN reported that three people — two Malian citizens and a French citizen — have been killed in the standoff.
Around 11 a.m. local time, AFP reported that Mali security forces were storming the besieged hotel.
Det skal være 10 gisseltakere.
Kassim Traoré, a Malian journalist was in a building about 150 feet from the Radisson, told the New York Times that the gunmen asked hostages to recite a Muslim declaration called the shahada. Those who could were allowed to leave the hotel.
Some of those who left, including Malians and foreigners, were not wearing any clothes as they were taken to a police station, Traoré said.
Dette er samme mønster som vi kjenner fra busskapringer i Kenya. Der fikk de som kunne fremsi shehada gå, de andre ble skutt.
Det bor en stor kontigent FN-personell på hotellet, sammen med flypersonell og franskmenn. Frankrike kom myndighetene til unnsetning i 2013 og har siden blitt værende. Det har forpurret jihadistenes planer om å kontrollere et belte over Sahel-regionen. Frankrike har vist seg som fienden i Mali.
Olivier Salgado, a spokesperson for the UN mission to Mali, told CNN the hotel was host to a large delegation of UN workers involved in the ongoing peace process in Mali. Turkish Airlines officials say that six of its employees are among the hostages, according to Reuters. The agency also reported that French nationals are being held, citing a source close to French president Francois Hollande.
Police have sealed off the area and are blocking roads. Paris-based RTL Radio is reporting that French soldiers have been dispatched to the scene.
Det har vært flere dødelige angrep i år. I mars ble en bar beskutt, tre maliere, en belgisk sikkerhetsoffiser og en franskmann ble drept.
Enda verre gikk det da et hotell ble angrepet for to måneder siden.
Two months ago, more than a dozen people — including five United Nations contractors — were killed in a 24-hour hostage drama at a hotel in Sevare, in central Mali. Responsibility for that attack was claimed by Algerian jihadi leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, according to the AFP. The infamous one-eyed militant had also orchestrated the bloody seizure of an Algerian gas facility in 2013, where at least 100 workers were held hostage and dozens were killed.
Angrep på luksushoteller er en effektiv måte å skremme vekk utlendinger på. Det er her utledninger med oppdrag i landene bor. Det vil bli vanskeligere å få folk til å påta seg oppdrag i uroområder hvis risikoen for å bli drept er reell.