Thirteen people, including five Mali soldiers, three gunmen,4 unidentified men, and one white male, have been killed in an attack by militants on a hotel and an ensuring siege in central Mali according Reuter reports. Suspected Islamist militants attacked the hotel in the Malian town of Sevare, which is popular among foreigners, including the staff of the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The attackers, whose number was estimated at between five and eight, stormed the Byblos hotel early on Friday in what Malian military sources described as an attempt to kidnap foreign hotel guests.
The alleged extremists barricaded themselves in the hotel and took “up to 10 people” hostage, the Malian army and the country’s defense spokesmen said on Friday.
“The armed men have withdrawn inside the hotel and taken the people inside hostage. The army is looking for a solution,” an army spokesman, Colonel Souleymane Maiga said
However, the rescue operation supported by the French military has been deemed a success. Mali authorities managed to free four hostages, including foreigners. Specifics on the identities and nationalities of the dead and the survivors are yet to be released. The Russian embassy in Mali has confirmed that one of the rescused hostages is a Russian citizen, an employee of UTair air carrier, who has been already brought to a UN camp in Sevare.
“The situation is resolved. What’s important is he’s safe,” a diplomat told TASS.
This is the third assault in Mali in just a week with 11 Malian soldiers killed on Monday in an attack on the military camp in the Timbuktu region and two more killed on Saturday near the border with Mauritania.