Gunmen hold 170 hostage at Mali hotel, three killed



At least three people were killed on Friday as gunmen took 170 people, including 20 Indians, hostage inside a five-star hotel in Mali's capital city Bamako.

"#MaliAttack: Acc'g to current info there are 20 Indians staying in the hotel. Our Amb is continuously in touch with them & monitor'g sitn," external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

The Radisson Blu Hotel chain said two armed men locked in 140 guests and 30 employees, CNN reported.

The victims comprised two Malian citizens and a French national, authorities said.

Two to three attackers with AK-47s arrived at the hotel in a vehicle or vehicles with diplomatic plates around 7.00 a.m. (local time), said Olivier Saldago, a spokesman for the UN Mission in Mali.

The gunmen then entered the hotel and began shooting at people.

The hotel was host to a large delegation for the peace process, Saldago added.

Malian soldiers along with UN troops have surrounded the hotel.

They freed a few hostages, including three UN staff members, according to ORTM, the state television.

No group immediately has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has cut short his trip to Chad for a summit. He is expected to arrive in Bamako later in the day.

The Radisson Blu Hotel is about 15 minutes away from the Bamako Senou International Airport. - IANS