The terror siege has ended in Mali, the restive West African state, with Special Forces storming the luxury hotel in the capital Bamako, which was assaulted by Islamist extremists, freeing hostages, including 20 Indians.
Terror had struck Mali’s capital on November 21 and the jihadists had been holding 170 hostages.
There were 20 Indian hostages evacuated. The Indian Embassy in Mali was monitoring the situation and provided all the required assistance that was needed to help rescue the hostages.
At least 27 people were reported dead in the fight between the commandos and terrorists. “They currently have no more hostages in their hands and forces are in the process of tracking them down,” Mali’s security minister Salif Traore told a news conference following the stand-off. The siege lasted for 9 hours.
The Indians, who were trapped inside the hotel frequented by foreigners, were working for a Dubai-based company and resided in the hotel. “Good news! All 20 Indians in the hotel in Bamako have been safely evacuated. Our Ambassador in Mali has confirmed,” said Vikas Swarup, the external affairs ministry’s spokesperson. Apart from the 20 Indian hostages among the foreign hostages there were 12 French, seven Chinese, seven Algerians, six Americans, six Turks, two Germans, one Guinean.
Al-Mourabitoun, the African jihadist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the Mali hotel attack. Al-Mourabitoun, based in northern Mali, is made up mostly of Tuaregs and Arabs. It was formed around two years ago and is headed by former Al-Qaeada fighter Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
As the spate of terror attacks continue worldwide, combating terrorism has become the top priority for many countries in most international summits, including the ASEAN and East Asia summit, which is being attended by a host of world leaders, including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India, which has been pushing for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, is focusing on enhancing security cooperation with most countries across the globe.
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