MALI-Bamako:- The Mali hotel attack. (Developments so far)
Local news reports claim the gunmen arrived at the hotel in a vehicle with a diplomatic pass.
It was the Guinean singer Sékouba ‘Bambino’ Diabate who heard the attackers speaking English.
He was among the 170 taken hostage in the hotel. Speaking to Reuters he said:
“I heard them say in English ‘Did you load it?’, ‘Let’s go’. I wasn’t able to see them because in these kinds of situations it’s hard.”
Heavy gunfire was heard inside the hotel as soldiers tried to free the hostages a witness and security source also told Reuters.
“Security forces are operating inside and are clearing each floor bit by bit and freeing hostages who are in their rooms,” the security source said. “There are dozens, even around a hundred, still inside.”
Meanwhile, Hotel owners says 138 people still in the building.
Despite reports 80 of the 170 hostages have been freed, the owners of the hotel said it believes 138 people are still in the building. In its latest statement the Rezidor hotel group said:-
"We are closely following the hostage-taking incident that is taking place at the Radisson Blu Hotel ... According to our latest information 125 guests and 13 employees are still in the building.
Our highest concern is the safety of all our guests and employees in the hotel. We are in constant contact with the authorities there and will share further information with you when we have it."