Only a week after the events in Paris left the world devastated, a group of men stormed the Radisson Blu in Mali, taking over 100 hostages and killing at least 18 victims as they fired everywhere. The New York Times reports that the attackers got into the hotel with falsified diplomatic licenses and announced their presence before they started shooting:
“They started firing everywhere,” said a receptionist at the hotel who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. “They were shouting, ‘Allahu akbar.’ They cut someone’s throat, a white man.”
“I hid in my office,” he said. “I saw four of them, armed to the teeth.”
While authorities have not yet determined who’s responsible for the attack, they believe it was the work of a local militant group, Al Mourabitoun, in partnership with members of Al Qaeda’s local affiliate. The attack has already been reported over (although officials are still sweeping the hotel), but according to a statement by Mali’s president, these kinds of attacks are not likely to disappear.
“We don’t want to scare our people, but we have already said that Mali will have to get used to situations like this,” President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, who was on a visit to neighboring Chad, told France 24. “We must all remain humble. No one, nowhere, is safe given the danger of terrorism.”
The United Nations has expressed concern that this latest attack was specifically engineered to make it harder to broker peace between Mali’s government and the rebel factions that oppose it. At least one of the victims, The New York Times confirms, was an American citizen.
(via The New York Times)