Officials say that a least 27 people have been killed when a luxury hotel in Bamako, Mali was stormed by gunmen on Friday morning
Update: A security source said the siege was over by around 4 p.m. local time (1630 GMT) and that two of the militants were dead.
A United Nations official said U.N. peacekeepers were searching the hotel had made a preliminary count of 27 bodies. The government held an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday night and was expected to give an official death toll later.
Malian special forces entered the US owned Radisson Blu hotel to end the siege by gunmen. The hotel says 138 people remain inside.
State TV said earlier that 80 of the 170 hostages had been freed, but Malian officials said that only 30 hostages were released.
— Khaleej Times (@khaleejtimes) November 20, 2015
RT reports: Among the hostages are US, French and Chinese citizens, according to media reports. Some reports suggest they include French military, Air France employees and Thales [major electronic systems company working in defense and aerospace] personnel.
A Chinese guest at the hotel told China’s Xinhua news agency via a mobile app that he was one of the hostages, the BBC reported.
Six Turkish nationals are also inside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako.
“There are six Turkish Airlines personnel in the hotel,” Reuters cited a Turkish official as saying.
The president of Mali has interrupted his visit to Chad, and is heading back to his country following the hostage-taking at the Radisson hotel.
There are no UN employees among the hostages, according to the UN’s mission in Mali.
Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangoté, who is in Mali on a business visit and was welcomed by the country’s president and premier, has been staying at the Radisson Blu in Bamako, local media reported.
Witnesses at the scene have reported that the attackers arrived in a diplomatic vehicle, and are now “walking quietly” around seven stories of the hotel. “It’s happening on the seventh floor, the jihadists are now shooting in the corridor,” the security source also said.
The Radisson Blu hotel is considered a major local hub for expats and tourists.