Mali hotel cook escaped attackers through window

November 22, 2015, 7:12am

By AP, News24. Photo: AP

Bamako - A cook at Bamako's Radisson Blu hotel has said he escaped the attack by extremists by jumping out the window after being shot at.

Mohammed Coulibaly said on Saturday that he had been in the kitchen cooking when a waitress ran in to say they were under attack. As he left the kitchen he encountered guests fleeing from the dining room.

"I asked everyone to go into the hallway and then suddenly we heard the footsteps of the jihadis behind us and there was total panic and people were running in every direction," he said.

Coulibaly then tried to hide near the bathrooms but was seen by the attackers and shot at. He then fled back to the kitchen, which was rapidly filling with smoke.

"I realized that if I didn't leave the kitchen, the smoke would kill me so I waited until it was quiet and I jumped through the hotel window," he said.

'Didn't expect it'

A guard at the Mali hotel that was targeted on Friday by Islamic extremists said the attackers struck just as the security teams were preparing to switch from the night shift to the morning shift, catching them by surprise.

Cheick Dabo, part of the security team at the Radisson Blu hotel, said on Saturday that five guards were present when two gunmen arrived on foot Friday morning at around 07:00. He said the guards were armed with two pistols and a shotgun between them but were "not concentrating" and "didn't expect" the attack.

Dabo said the attackers fired on the guards, killing one and injuring three. Dabo himself hid under a car.

The attack turned into a siege that lasted more than seven hours, killing 20 people plus the two gunmen.