Hostages Held in Bamako, Mali, Africa

Hostages Held in Bamako, Mali, Africa

Hostages Held in Bamako, Mali, Africa

Early Friday morning, gunmen, shouting “Allahu Akbar” or “God is Great” stormed a luxury Radisson Hotel in the capital of Bamako in Mali on the African continent. On the map, Mali is in West Africa between Mauritania to the West and Niger and Nigeria to the East.

According to Bustle.com, while Mali gained its independence from France in 1960, strong ties have remained. The French language is the main language spoken in Mali.

Al Qaeda took over part of Northern Mali in 2012, according to CNN. France helped Mali drive out Al Qaeda last year.

Street scene this morning in Mali
Street scene this morning in Mali

According to CBS News, 124 guests and thirteen employees were being held. Some hostages were released after being asked to recite the Koran.

CBS News reports:

The groups which took control of the territory in northern Mali were not ISIS-affiliated, but had instead pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri.

However, ISIS is known to be active in the region, and there were no immediate claims of responsibility to suggest which group could be behind the attack in Bamako.

The BBC has filed this early report before some hostages were released:

CBS News is also reporting that Malian special forces aided by French advisers have entered the hotel and are clearing the hotel floor by floor.

Malian army commander, Modibo Nama Traore, said the troops were freeing hostages “floor by floor.” He said at least 30 hostages had been freed already and that Malian security forces were trying to make contact with the assailants.

According to multiple sources, U.S. President Barack Obama was briefed by National Security Adviser Susan Rice. It is reported that he has asked to be kept up to date.

Last week Paris. This week Mali. Next?

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