Suspected jihadists attacked a hotel resort Sunday 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 into the evening, authorities said.
Gunfire first rang out at the Campement Kangaba on the outskirts of Bamako in the late afternoon, 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 reporters.
“I heard gunfire coming from the camp and I saw people running out of the site,” said Modibo Diarra, who lives nearby. “I learned that it was a terrorist attack.”
Malian soldiers later succeeded in entering the resort area, according to Commandant Modibo Traore, a spokesman for the Malian special forces in the former French colony.
“The operation is ongoing and we estimate that there are between three and four assailants,” he said.
As night fell, witnesses could see smoke rising from the Campement Kangaba, which features three swimming pools and is a popular escape from the Malian heat for the day. It was not immediately clear what was burning, although jihadists have been known to light cars ablaze during other attacks in the region.