Security forces in Mali free all hostages from luxury hotel, at least 27 dead

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Malian security forces have freed hostages after Islamist militants took at least 100 people hostage at a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako. At least 27 people have been killed.
A hostage crisis at a luxury hotel in Bamako that claimed the lives of at least 27 people has ended after Malian security forces stormed the building in a room-to-room operation, reports.
In a brazen early morning attack in Bamako, the gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu, the African country’s most popular lodging for foreigners, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” in Arabic.
The gunmen went on a shooting rampage, threw grenades and initially took around 170 guests and staff hostages as they moved from floor-to-floor in the 190-room hotel.
Al-Mourabitoun, an Islamist group of Tuaregs and Arabs in northern Mali, claimed responsibility for the attack.
In a recorded statement run by Al-Jazeera the group said it wanted the government to free prisoners and stop attacks in the north of the country.
After nearly nine hours Malian security forces said they had freed the remaining hostages.
“They currently have no more hostages in their hands, and forces are in the process of tracking them down,” Security Minister Salif Traore told a news conference.
He said at least two gunmen had been killed and special forces are trying to dislodge the remaining gunmen from the upper floors of the hotel.
The UN said at least 27 people have been killed.
The hostages included Americans, Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Algerian and European citizens.
Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita cut short a trip to a regional summit in neighbouring Chad.
France and the United States, which both have Special Forces in the region, are aiding Malian security forces.
Security sources in Mali’s capital said at least two suspected jihadists had opened fire on the seventh floor of the hotel Friday and were holding 170 guests and staff hostage.

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