Monday 26 September 2016

Mali Bamako hotel siege: What we know so far

* 27 people killed
* All remaining hostages now believed to be free
* Gunmen burst into Radisson Blu hotel carrying AK47s at 7am - reports
* Gunmen moved floor by floor through hotel
* Sporadic gunfire heard as Mali special security forces cleared hotel
* Some hostages freed after being made to recite verses from the Koran
* US special forces assisted in rescue
* 170 were taken hostage at Radisson hotel by men screaming 'Allahu Akbar'
* At least two private security guards injured
* Mali security forces storming besieged Bamako hotel
* Elite French unit, which specialises in hostage situations, travelled to Mali
* The former French colony has been battling rebels allied to al Qaeda for several years
* Third body of terrorist, a woman, found in Saint-Denis raid flat
* Eighth suspected terrorist still on the loose
* All 10 members of the Irish Defence Forces accounted for
* US President Obama says he's monitoring the situation in Mali

Published 20/11/2015 | 13:05

In this TV image taken from Mali TV ORTM, a security officer gives instructions to other security forces inside the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali. (Mali TV ORTM, AP)
In this TV image taken from Mali TV ORTM, a security officer gives instructions to other security forces inside the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali. (Mali TV ORTM, AP)
A Mali trooper assists a hostage to leave the scene from the Radisson Blu hotel to safety. (AP Photo/Harouna Traore)
Still image from video shows a hostage rushed out of the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali. Reuters
In this TV image taken from Mali TV ORTM, security forces help hostages to safety, inside the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali. (Mali TV ORTM, AP)
Still image from video shows the lobby of the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali. Reuters
Still image from video show a hostage rushed out from the Radisson hotel in Bamako. Reuters
In this TV image taken from Mali TV ORTM, security forces crouch down outside the Radisson Blu Hotel hotel in Bamako, Mali. (Mali TV ORTM, AP) MALI OUT
Still image from video show a hostage rushed out from the Radisson hotel in Bamako. Reuters
Malian security forces prepare to transport hostages freed from the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. AFP/Getty Images
Malian security forces evacuate hostages freed from the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. AFP/Getty Images
Malian security forces evacuate two women from an area surrounding the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. AFP/Getty Images
Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. AFP/Getty Images
Malian security forces evacuate two women from an area surrounding the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. AFP/Getty Images
Malian troops take position near the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. AFP/Getty Images
Malian security forces escort a hostage freed from the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. AFP/Getty Images
Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. AFP/Getty Images
Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. AFP/Getty Images
Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Onlookers gather near the Radisson Blu hotel after gunmen stormed the building in Bamako, Mali.(AP Photo/Harouna Traore)
Security forces escorts a man from the Radisson Blu hotel entrance area were gunmen attacked in Bamako, Mali (AP Photo/Harouna Traore)
Outside the hotel this morning
Outside the hotel this morning
Security force personnel escort people fleeing from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali. (AP Photo/Harouna Traore)
People run to flee from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali. (AP Photo/Harouna Traore)
The scene in Mali this morning
Malian security forces take position near the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. AFP/Getty Images
Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. AFP/Getty Images
Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. AFP/Getty Images
Security forces drive near the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali. Reuters/Adama Diarra
Security forces drive near the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali. Reuters/Adama Diarra
Security forces drive an armored vehicle near the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali. Reuters/Adama Diarra
Security forces drive an armored vehicle near the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali. Reuters/Adama Diarra
Gunmen stormed the hotel screaming 'Allahu Akbar' or "God is great" in Arabic. Photo: Google maps
Press being updated outside the hotel
The Raddison Blu hotel in Mali

Around 170 people awere held hostage in Mali, after armed gunmen stormed a Radisson Blu hotel in the nation's capital of Bamako.

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Where is Mali?

The Republic of Mali is a landlocked nation in West Africa, bordering the countries of Niger and Algeria.

It's a large and diverse country of around 15 million people, extending far into the Sahara Desert in the North but holding most of its population in the greener south.

Mali was a French colony after being seized in the late 19th Century, but gained its independence in 1960.

Does Mali have a history of insurgency?

Most of the recent troubles in Mali began in October 2011, when people from the Tuareg ethnic minority group formed the Azawad National Liberation Movement and began an insurgency against the Malian government, which they believe marginalised them.

Fighting between the groups continued, and the army eventually staged a coup against the government in March 2012 out of frustration over its handling of the rebellion.

The Presient, Amadou Toumani Touré was forced into exile, and Tuareg and al-Qaeda-linked forces seized control of the north of the country, the military failing in its promise to defeat the rebels.

In June 2012 more Islamist groups entered the fray, capturing major cities.

In January 2013 the French military intervened, fighting Islamist militants at the request of the Malian government.

In June that year a peace deal was achieved with the Tuareg rebels, and 120,000 UN troops were handed the responsibility for pushing out the Islamists and taking back northern towns.

However, the peace deal broke down in December 2013 - later, France launched a new attack on Islamists in the country, and minor terror attacks, such as the shooting of five people in a Bamako machine-gun attack in March this year, increased in frequency.

The capture of the hostages in Bamako today by unidentified gunmen is the latest attack to hit the country.

What Islamist groups are currently active in Mali?

There is a long list of violent jihadist groups operating in Mali.

The major players are Ansar Dine, an al-Qaeda-linked group, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, another al-Qaeda offshoot, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Signed-in-Blood Battalion and the Islamic Movement of Azawad, which split from Ansar Dine. As well as these groups, many other smaller groups, which may have allegiances to larger organisations, also exist in the country.

Many of these groups are offshoots of larger organisations or even of one another, and are related in complicated networks of power across the country.

It is not known what the gunmen at the Bamako Radisson stand for, but according to early reports, the men shouted "Allah Akbar" as they stormed the building, and were letting hostages go if they were able to recite passages from the Koran.

Independent News Service

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