Hostages released and over 20 dead in Mali terror attacks

There are also reports of a suicide bombing in Cameroon, and a high security alert in Brussels. 

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

Gunmen have entered the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali's capital, and are holding 170 hostages inside the hotel. 

According to a statement from the hotel's manager, the attackers have barred the hotel's doors and are keeping 140 guests and 30 employees inside the hotel, which is near the city's centre and is popular among tourists and expats.

A security source told Reuters that the gunmen shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is Great" in Arabic) on entering the hotel, and have released some hostages, including those able to recite verses from the Koran. 

Thirteen people were killed in another attack in Sevare, another Malian town, in August.

Update: 21/11

Late on Friday, Malian special forces managed to enter the hotel and kill at least two of the gunmen. Nineteen other people were killed and seven were wounded. 

Ibrahim Boubacar Këita, Mali's president, declared a national state of emergency on Friday night. 

Meanwhile, Brussels is on lockdown in response to what the government is calling a "precise" and "imminent" threat of a Paris-style attack. Shopping centres are closed and the metro is not running.

There are reports of a suicide bombing in Cameroon which left 10 dead. Officials suspect this was the work of Boko Haram, the Islamist group who also set off a bomb in a market in Nigeria last week, killing 32. 

Barbara Speed is comment editor at the i, and was technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman, and a staff writer at CityMetric.