The EU Training Mission in Mali tweeted a statement that it was aware of the attack and was assessing the situation. “Malian special forces intervened and about 20 hostages have been released”, Mr Traore told AFP.
“The operation is ongoing and we estimate that there are between three and four assailants”, he said.
The gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar” as they opened fire on tables of people who were gathered for breakfast at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, a witness said. One was identified as French-Gabonese, and the other’s nationality had not been confirmed.
French troops are supporting Malian government forces, while the violence has made the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country the deadliest in the world.
A helicopter was circling overhead, he said.
Macron reconfirmed his country’s commitment to the former French colony, giving reassurance that his government would remain “uncompromising” in the fight against terrorism and jihadi extremists around Bamako and all throughout Mali.
Initially concentrated in the desert north, attacks have increasingly struck the centre and south, around the capital Bamako.
“The person has been taken care of and is safe”, said the Armed Forces.
Sunday’s violence came about a week after the US State Department warned of “possible future attacks on Western diplomatic missions, other locations in Bamako that Westerners frequent”. In March 2015, five people died when militants hit a popular restaurant in the capital. The most recent extension was in April, when the state of emergency was given another six months.
Andrea de Georgio, a freelance journalist in Bamako, also quoted officials as saying that at least two people were killed.
Mali was once a staging area for al-Qaeda’s North African activities, led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
In March 2016, at least 14 civilians and two special forces troops were killed when gunmen stormed the Ivorian beach resort of Grand-Bassam, which was also claimed by AQIM.
It has been targeted constantly by militants, with dozens of peacekeepers killed.
Soldiers from France’s Bakhane counter-terrorist force have setup a security cordon in conjunction with local authorities.