One week after the Paris attacks, terrorists targeted a busy international hotel in the former French colony of Mali’s capital, killing 19 people.
Heavily-armed men raided the Radisson Blu in Bamako, Mali, shouting “God is great” in Arabic. They aimed and shot aimlessly as guests frantically searched for cover around the hotel.
The attackers seized dozens of hostages. At least one guest reported that the attackers forced him to recite lines from the Quran to prove his Muslim faith before being released.
Malian and U.N. security forces rushed in and ended the siege within a few hours. Meanwhile, hostages made their way out as the forces raided each floor of the hotel.
Extremist group formed by Algerian militant Moktar Belmoktar, Al-Mourabitoun, was allegedly behind the attack.
In a statement translated by Flashpoint Intelligence, a security consulting firm and NBC News partner, the attackers said they’ve worked in cooperation with terrorist group al-Qaeda in the Great Sahara region.
No country has officially acknowledged this claim to be true. However, this does not mean necessary precautions are not being carried out.
The government in Mali called a 10-day state of emergency as they search for the suspects.
“The search has started and I can tell you that we are looking for more than three people at the moment,” Malian army commander, Modibo Nama Traore, said to the Associated Press.
Authorities have found and arrested two men, around their thirties, in the outskirts of the city.
“They were found after a phone at the scene was connected to both suspects,” said Traore.
Mali President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, addressed the global threat posed by Islamic extremists in light of their attacks, especially one week after killing 130 people with their attacks on Paris.
“These people have attacked Paris and other places. Nowhere is excluded,” Keita said, then adding that Mali would still remain open to the world. “Mali is not a closed area and it never will be.”
Malians have worked against attacks from unstable Northern Mali as they’ve been progressing towards the south.
The attacks may have been motivated by wanting to disrupt a fragile peace process that has made progress in the last few months, said analyst for the International Crisis Group, Jean-Herve Jezequel, in an interview posted on their website.