Following the terrorist attacks on Paris on Nov. 13 that killed 129 people, the world has held its breath to see if the terror would continue. Since then, several more attacks have occurred on European soil. Belgium has dealt with terrorist attacks and high threat levels. And now, Bamako, Mali has been recently added to the list of cities attacked by Islamic Jihadists, who also performed various atrocities on these cities and their people.
During the attack on Bamako, several gunmen used vehicles with unique, diplomatic license plates to conceal their identity. These gunmen drove onto the property of the Radisson Blu Hotel with the intent to attack. Bamako’s Radisson Blu Hotel welcomes travelers from all over the world. As the Islamic jihadists entered the tourist friendly hotel, they spoke their directions in English. According to the eyewitness Sekoutba “Bambino” Diabate, a famous singer from Guinea, English was spoken by the attackers as the threat began.
The jihadist attackers used AK47 weapons to sweep the hotel from floor to floor. One hundred seventy hostages were taken during the sweep. Witnesses reported to authorities that hostages who could quote the Koran were let go to freedom while those who could not recite the passage were kept as hostages. Malian security also managed to attack the Jihadist terrorists, which resulted in the release of 80 more people who were previously hostages.
Americans are held hostage in this siege, but it is unknown how many are trapped at this time. The US Embassy is sheltering in place at the moment and has advised all US citizens in Mali to do the same. At first three people were confirmed dead. The world awaits more news as the situation unfolds.
Sources at the New York Times compared similarities between the Bamako, Mali attacks and attacks on 2013 on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The similarities in the two situations are:
- Hostages who could recite the Shahada were released.
- Terrorists in both cases used diplomatic plates to gain entry into the desired area.
Fox News states that, according to the latest information they have received, 120 hotel guests and 13 of the hotel staff are being held hostage in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako. Also, according to a report by AFRICOM, the United States anti-terrorist Special Forces were assisting in the terrorist situation. United States forces have rescued six Americans from the hostage situation. These six people have been moved to a secure location.
One of the most recent reports on the siege stated that an al-Qaeda group has taken responsibility for the recent assault in Mali.