At least six people were killed in an attack on a tourist complex outside Mali’s capital city of Bamako, police said.
The victims were one Malian soldier and five foreigners, but it is not known yet whether they were civilians or foreign troops, a police official told Efe news
The tourist complex is very popular among members of the United Nations Minusma multinational force stationed in Mali.
According to witnesses, a group of at least four armed men on Sunday afternoon arrived at the main gate of the tourist complex shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is great, in Arabic) and opened fire on the people they encountered.
The Malian Security Ministry said that attackers were ‘armed individuals, certainly terrorists’, and no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
There were an unknown number of off-duty members of the UN Minusma multinational force stationed in Mali in the area at the time.
At least 20 people in the vicinity were able to get away from the scene unharmed, police said.
Malian Special Forces, assisted by the Minusma blue helmets, have cordoned off the zone where the tourist complex is located, while the attackers seem to have taken refuge on a hill within the area.
Several columns of smoke could be seen rising from the tourist complex and some sources said the attackers have taken hostages, although that has not yet been officially confirmed.
On November 29, 2015, terrorists attacked the Radisson Blu Hotel also in the capital killing 20.
Responsibility for that attack was claimed by two different jihadi alliances, one headed by the Islamic State and the other by Al Qaeda.