Two gunmen have taken 170 hostages at a hotel in Mali, Western Africa. The hostages, 140 of which are said to be guests, the remaining 30 employees, are locked in the Radisson Blu Hotel in the country’s capital of Bamako. Police have cordoned off the area.
The two assailants apparently smashed through security barriers, injuring two security guards in the process, and stormed the main hotel building, firing gunshots and shouting the phrase “Allahu Akbar”, which when translated means “God is great”.
The hotel is a popular spot for expats and tourists, much like many of the Radisson Blu hotels in the MENA region, and although some hostages have been freed, apparently locals and those able to recite a verse from the Koran. For the remainder of the hostages, the outlook is less than positive.
Peace keepers on the scene
Malian police, soldiers and special forces are on the scene, as well as UN peace-keepers, trying to find a way to free the remaining hostages, who are all apparently gathered on the seventh floor of the large hotel.
While security forces are not certain how many gunmen are inside the hotel, reports suggest just two broke through the security barriers, yet other reports suggest more than 10 men are involved.
Malia has a recent history of rebellion and military conflict, and has seen Islamist fighters attack many of the northernmost towns and villages in Malia in the last two years, prompting 12,000 UN troops to take up post in the country.
More attacks to come?
The incident follows the recent terror attacks in Paris, where 130 people were killed while enjoying their Friday night in the capital, taking in a football match, a meal in a restaurant and a concert at the Bataclan.
This latest siege will do little to improve the global mood at the moment in relation to the actions of a small global minority seemingly intent on targeting innocent people for acts of terror. For cities and towns across the world, many now consider the threat of a terror attack on their doorstep to be more a case of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’, with the real problem that, short of restricting public movement and freedom, there is no way of curbing the flurry of insular attacks from people trusted with the responsibility that comes with being amongst other humans in a social situation.
The attacks in Paris are said to have been launched as a result of the persistent bombing in Syria by the French – attacks which have caused untold casualties to innocent people. Countries such as Russia, the US and the UAE have also dropped bombs on Syria, which, if the pictures coming out of the country are to be believed, have not all been successful in hitting genuine targets.