Suspected jihadists hit resort in Mali's capital

Malian police officers patrol in a street during an attack targeting a hotel hosting an EU military training mission in Bamako

Suspected jihadists hit resort in Mali's capital

Initially concentrated in the desert north, attacks have increasingly struck the centre and south, around the capital Bamako. Security forces were battling the attackers at the Kangaba resort after the assault, with nearby residents reporting hearing shots while smoke billowed into the air, with at least one building ablaze.

'There were four national police vehicles and French soldiers in armoured vehicles on the scene'.

'Security forces are in place. "Unfortunately for the moment there are two dead, including a Franco-Gabonese". "Campement Kangaba is blocked off and an operation is underway", Security Ministry spokesman Baba Cisse said by telephone.

Andrea de Georgio, a freelance journalist in Bamako, also quoted officials as saying that at least two people were killed.

Security minister Salif Traore said 20 hostages were freed after an operation by special forces, which have surrounded the resort.

The attack took place at Le Campement resort in Dougourakoro, east of the capital of Bamako.

It was one of a series of shootings and bombings to sweep the country as part of an ongoing insurgency by Islamist militants in the north, which has worsened in recent months.

It sits on the outskirts of Bamako, where the Radisson Blu hotel was the target of a previous terror attack that left more than 20 people dead in November 2015.

Another militant group led by the Malian jihadist Iyad Ag Ghaly, a former leader of the Ansar Dine Islamists, has also claimed multiple attacks on domestic and foreign forces since its formation - particularly against the 12,000-member United Nations force known as MINUSMA.

That attack was claimed by the militant group al-Mourabitoun, which said it collaborated with an al-Qaida affiliate in the violence.

Several of those rescued said the assailants shouted Allahu Akbar during the attack.

A state of emergency has been renewed several times since the Radisson Blu attack, most recently in April when it was extended for six months, but attacks are continuing.

France intervened in Mali in 2013 to oust Islamic extremists who had seized control of the major northern towns the year before.

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