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Gunmen on Friday fired at guests at a hotel hosting diplomats in Mali’s capital, Bamako. The terror attack has left at least 21 people dead, including two militants, which is a serious case of extremist violence. Barely less than a week after the Paris attacks in which 130 people were killed, a group of heavily armed and well-trained shooters stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on Friday. They barged through the compound like stray dogs, detonated bombs, and took hostage about 170 people.
According to news sources, three Chinese, one American, and one Belgian were among the dead. A military official said the gunmen shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they began the attack. I don’t understand why these terrorists carry out the attacks in the name of god. The thoughts that run in their filthy minds are known only to Allah! Al-Mourabitoun, an African jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for this assault.
The attackers sounded like they were from northern Mali, according to a worker of the hotel. The gunmen shot ruthlessly at anything that seemed to move. According to sources, the president of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Këita, speaking on national television late on Friday evening, declared a national state of emergency effective from midnight.
By Friday night, special forces were let out by the government, and with the help of the US and France, the guards fought their way through the hotel floor by floor, reportedly killing at least two of the gunmen. Barack Obama, speaking in Malaysia during a regional summit, called it another example of “appalling” and “barbaric” jihadist violence against “innocent people who had everything to live for.”
The world’s top leaders are cooperating in this matter, and it is a good sign that they stand united to fight terrorism.
It also marks another reverse for François Hollande, whose country ruled Mali for 68 years until 1960.
The French president gained significant political capital from his decision in 2013 to commit French troops to drive Islamist forces out of the north of Mali. The attack on the Radisson, one of Bamako’s plushest hotels in a neighborhood also home to government ministries
and diplomats, appeared absolutely brutal. However, it remained unclear how many people were killed by the attackers and who might have died when troops stormed the hotel.
Reports by news sources said the hostage-takers freed those who were able to quote passages from the Qur’an! This is an unacceptable case of religious intolerance, and it shows the extremist mindset of the terrorists. India’s foreign ministry said 20 Indian nationals were among the hostages, and they were all known to be alive. Northern Mali was occupied by rebel fighters, some with links to al-Qaida, for most of 2012. Although the French-led military operation drove them out, sporadic violence continues. France President Hollande had deployed 3,700 French ground troops to assist; they had seen the faltering efforts of Mali’s military as deeply risky. Still, it took 23 days for the French to retake most of the territory held for nine months by al-Qaida.
The repercussion of the militants in Northern Mali must have been the main reason for this attack. The hotel was hosting peace negotiators, and the attack began at 7 am when shooters entered the hotel firing. With 190 rooms and suites, it is known as a hub for international guests such as diplomats and business people, and it is a 15-minute drive from Bamako-Senou International Airport. “I think negative forces have perpetrated this attack, terrorists, who do not want to see peace in Mali,” Hamdi said.
France dispatched to Mali-an elite paramilitary group trained in hostage rescue and counter-terrorism operations. President Francois Hollande pledged to provide the necessary support to help Mali resolve the situation. Mali has been facing problems for a long time, and it was only due to France’s help in 2012 that peace was restored.
Growing intolerance has become a major issue globally, and Al-Qaida groups have partially responsible for the attacks. Certainly, an air of clarity must be brought about, and the exact intentions of the terrorist groups must be unearthed.