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Mali hotel siege: Al-qaeda claims attack

Survivors of the Mali hotel attacks have been recounting the gory experience in the hands of the gunmen who took hostages at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its offshoot al-Murabitoun said they carried out the attack.

A restaurant attendant, Tamba Couye recounts his experience; “These people started shooting. They were shooting at everybody without asking a single question. They were shooting at anything that moved,” Tamba Couye said of the attack at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako.

One man did yell “Allahu akbar,” said Couye, who was working in the restaurant where breakfast was underway. The attackers sounded like they were from northern Mali, he told “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

Couye said an attacker chased him from the hotel but he came back later to help because his instincts told him he needed to do so to save lives.

Dozens of people were trapped in the building for hours, officials in the West African nation said, before Malian and U.N. security forces launched a counterattack and rushed guests away.

More than 20 people died, and a national state of emergency has been declared. Mali officials say the gunmen had “no more hostages” and were being chased.

Moments after the National Security Council condemned the “heinous attack” in Bamako, terror group, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its offshoot al-Murabitoun said they carried out the attack.

Read also: Mali forces engage hostage takers at Radisson Blu Hotel

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced the state of emergency from midnight on Friday for 10 days, as well as three days of national mourning. The President made the declaration after a crisis cabinet meeting late on Friday.

There seems to be conflicting reports of the number of people, who lost their lives. While President Boubacar said 21 people were killed in the attack, including two gunmen, a UN official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said at least 27 people had died.

The UN official said, 12 bodies were found in the basement and 15 on the second floor.

One of the hostages reportedly killed was Geoffrey Dieudonne, a member of parliament in Belgium’s Wallonia region.

China’s state news agency Xinhua says three Chinese nationals are among the dead. The US state department said one US citizen was killed.

Pictures released after the attacks showed that some of the hostages leaving the hotel were wounded, but UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said three Britons in the hotel were safe.

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Ripples Nigeria

We are an online newspaper, very passionate about Nigerian politics, business and their leaders. We dig deeper, without borders and without fears.
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