Mali official says at least 2 dead in attack

Gunmen have stormed a tourist resort in Mali popular with Westerners and two people are dead, the country’s security minister has said.

The attack on Sunday targeted Le Campement Kangaba, a favorite destination for expatriates.

The hotel guests who died included French-Gabonese, French-Malian, Chinese and Portuguese citizens, Cisse said. Four attackers were also killed.

The attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda’s North African affiliate Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

“We’re now in the process of combing the area to verify no one is hiding anywhere”, Traore said.

However it says all members have been located and returned to the European Union Training Mission’s Headquarters in Bamako.

“This is one the prices to be paid for the unity between the European Union and Mali, the Sahel – that unity is strong and it will continue day in, day out”, Mogherini said. “Westerners were fleeing the encampment while two plainclothes police exchanged fire with the assailants”, he said.

The released hostages, many of them still in their swimsuit, told reporters that the assailants shouted “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is great” in Arabic, before they started firing at them.

That siege, which led to the death of 20 people, led to the government imposing a state of emergency which has been in place more or less ever since.

The country’s security has gradually worsened since 2013, when French forces repelled allied Islamist and Tuareg rebel fighters from parts of the north.

The area remained cordoned off on Monday.

France condemns with utmost firmness this murderous attack”, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that Malian and French authorities were “continuing their checks to determine the possible presence of French nationals among the victims”.

A security ministry official said: “There is an attack by presumed jihadists on the Kangaba camp“. Three Malians had carried out it out and were killed in the attack, the agency reported.

The French president’s office, the defence minister’s office and the French military would not comment immediately on the attack or on media reports saying that French forces are intervening.

An 800-strong United Nations mission is now active in the country, enforcing a peace deal between the government and the rebels.

In March the same year, a grenade and gun attack on La Terrasse nightclub in Bamako killed five people, including foreigners.