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The Latest: French president following events in Mali – News & Observer


The Latest on the attack on a resort hotel near Bamako, Mali (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

In Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron is closely following developments of the attack on a hotel resort in Mali’s capital where suspected jihadists took hostages in a spot popular with foreigners.

An official in Macron’s office said the president has been informed about the attack and he and his teams are following the evolving events.

Macron’s office, the French Foreign Ministry and French military would not comment on reports that a French citizen is among the dead and that French forces are involved in the intervention.

French military spokesman Col. Patrik Steiger said he had “strictly no information” about French military involvement in the incident at the Campement Kangaba. He said there are no French troops based in Bamako, but about 2,000 French troops based in northern Mali fighting Islamic extremists.

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7:45 p.m.

Mali authorities say suspected jihadists launched an attack Sunday on a hotel resort in Mali’s capital, taking hostages at a spot popular with foreigners on the weekends. The number of casualties was unclear in the assault, which continued through the afternoon.

Gunfire rang out at the Campement Kangaba on the outskirts of Bamako, according to a security official with the U.N. mission known as MINUSMA. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

Malian soldiers succeeded in entering the site, according to Commandant Modibo Traore, a spokesman for the Malian special forces in the former French colony.

Religious extremism in Mali once was limited to northern areas, although in recent years the jihadists have spread violence farther south, including a devastating attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako in November 2015. That attack left 20 dead — six Malians and 14 foreigners.

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