A number of Chinese tourists are among the 170 hostages being held by gunmen at the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako, according to China’s state news wire Xinhua.
Automatic weapons fire could be heard from outside the city-centre hotel where security sources say “jihadists” had entered the compound in a car with diplomatic plates.
Xinhua cited a guest surnamed Chen, who is among a group of Chinese nationals “trapped” at the hotel.
The hotel’s US-based parent company, Rezidor Hotel Group, confirmed that two people were holding 140 guests and 30 employees hostage. A statement read: “Our safety and security teams and our corporate team are in constant contact with the local authorities in order offer any support possible to reinstate safety and security at the hotel.”
The incident follows another hostage-taking at a hotel in the Malian town of Sevare where five UN workers were killed.