Two gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, taking 170 guests and staff as hostages.
Automatic weapons and explosions could be heard from outside the 190-room luxury hotel, which is housed near government offices. Security forces have set up a cordon around the area.
According to the officials, the two gunmen had entered the hotel in a car, which carried diplomatic plates. “It’s all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,” one security source was quoted as saying.
The Rezidor Hotel Group, the US-based parent company of Radisson Blu, said two people were holding 170 people hostage. The company in a statement said that they were aware that 140 guests and 30 employees had been taken hostage.
It added in a statement: “Our safety and security teams and our corporate team are in constant contact with the local authorities in order offer any support possible to reinstate safety and security at the hotel”.
In August, suspected Islamist gunmen killed 13 people, including five UN workers, during a hostage siege at a hotel in the central Malian town of Sevare.
Five people, including a French citizen and a Belgian, were also killed in an attack at a restaurant in Bamako in March in the first such incident in the capital.