Mali hotel gunmen 'holding no more hostages': security minister

November 20, 2015, 4:39pm

Malian security forces evacuate a man from near the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, November 20, 2015. Gunmen seized 170 guests and staff at the hotel before special forces staged a rescue operation. Photo: AFP PHOTO / HABIBOU KOUYATE  

By Reuters / AFP, on eNCA

BAMAKO, Mali - Gunmen who stormed a luxury hotel in Mali's capital Friday and seized more than 100 guests and staff no longer have any hostages after a rescue operation by special forces, the government said.

All remaining hostages at the Malian siege where at least three people died are now safe and out of the Radisson Blu in Bamako where they had been held, ministerial adviser Amadou Sangho told French television station BFMTV.

"These people have been taken under the wing of the civil authorities," he said. He added the operation was undertaken "uniquely" by Malian forces.

The Mali hotel hostage crisis has ended, a local official says "They currently have no more hostages in their hands and forces are in the process of tracking them down," security minister Salif Traore told a news conference following a stand-off of several hours at Bamako's Radisson Blu.

Earlier Malian commandos stormed the luxury hotel after Islamist gunmen took 170 people including many foreigners hostage in the capital of the former French colony, which has been battling rebels allied to al Qaeda for several years.

A Malian military source indicated that two gunmen had been killed in the siege.

Unconfirmed reports quote Mali state TV as stating that eighteen dead bodies had been found inside the Bamako hotel.

- Additional reporting AFP

- Reuters