Gunmen shouting Islamic slogans went on a shooting rampage at the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako seizing 170 people as hostage, the hotel chain said.
Automatic weapons fire could be heard from outside the 190-room hotel in the city-centre, where security forces have set up a security cordon, a journalist from AFP said.
“It’s all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,” one security source told AFP.
Malian soldiers, police and special forces were on the scene as a security perimeter was set up, along with members of the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping force in Mali and the French troops fighting jihadists in west Africa under Operation Barkhane.
The US-based parent company of Radisson Blu, The Rezidor Hotel Group, said two people were holding 170 people hostage.
The company said it was “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”.
“Our safety and security teams and our corporate team are in constant contact with the local authorities in order offer any support possible to reinstate safety and security at the hotel.” it added in a statement.