Tuesday 24 September 2019

Two held over Mali hotel attack

Mali soldiers help a hostage to leave the Radisson Blu hotel after gunmen attacked the hotel in Bamako (AP)
Mali soldiers help a hostage to leave the Radisson Blu hotel after gunmen attacked the hotel in Bamako (AP)

Malian special forces have arrested two men over an attack on a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako.

An army statement said the pair are from Mali, and were both arrested in Bamako, but provided no other details on their background or their potential roles in the attack.

It added that "questioning of these suspects will shed more light on the motivations of the perpetrators of the sordid terrorist attack perpetrated" at the Radisson Blu hotel on November 20.

A spokesman for the interior ministry also announced that 20 people and the gunmen were killed in the attack, not 19 as previously thought.

Six Malians and six Russians were killed along with three Chinese, two Belgians, one American, one Israeli and one Senegalese, he said.

He declined to provide more details related to the arrests or the ongoing investigation, saying only that officials were studying materials recovered from the scene for clues.

Two gunmen armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and explosives stormed the hotel before 7am, striking just as security guards were about to change shifts.

After shooting four of the five guards, killing one, they fired wildly in the lobby and breakfast dining area before heading to the hotel's upper floors.

Malian troops, backed by French and American special forces, swarmed in to retake the building and free terrified guests and hotel staff during a siege that lasted more than seven hours.

The gunmen were killed at the scene, and on Monday state media broadcast their photos, asking anyone with information about them to come forward.

A UN police official said earlier this week that authorities were trying to determine if the assault rifles used in the attack were pillaged from the stocks of the Malian army or had come from outside the country.

PA Media

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