Terrorists stormed a hotel in Mali’s capital of Bamako taking over 100 hostages, while shouting “Allahu Akbar.”
The gunmen initially “locked in” 140 guests and 30 employees, before allowing approximately 30 to leave, who could cite a verse from the Koran, Fox News is reporting.
Lt. Col. Diarran Kone, a Mali military official, told reporters that special forces from his country are going “floor by floor” freeing hostages.
“[Malian army commander Modibo Nama] Traore said 10 gunmen had stormed the hotel Friday morning shouting “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” in Arabic before firing on the guards. A staffer at the hotel who gave his name as Tamba Diarra said over the phone that the attackers used grenades in the assault,” according to Fox News. There are reportedly Americans in the hotel. The White House said that President Obama has been briefed on the situation.
Gunmen have attacked Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako, reports say https://t.co/GZ7zYZbm9I
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) November 20, 2015
A defense official told Fox News that U.S. Military personnel, who were in the area, are assisting the Mali government forces.
USAFRICOM closely watching the situation in #Mali. Small team of U.S. Special Operations Forces assisting with hostage rescue efforts.
— US AFRICOM (@USAfricaCommand) November 20, 2015
The United States embassy is nearby the location where the stand off is taking place, and American citizens are being advised to stay sheltered during the “ongoing active shooter operation.”
One freed hostage told France 24 that there are still “lots of people” inside the hotel. “I also saw bodies in the lobby, It was absolutely horrible,” the freed hostage said, according to the Guardian.
French citizens are said to be among the hostages being held by the terrorists. An elite French special forces unit is reportedly en route to the East African nation to assist in operations.
No specific terrorist organization has taken responsibility for the attack.
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.