Gift of the Givers volunteer survives Mali hotel shooting unharmed

Gunmen stormed Hotel Debo last night, but there are no details of how many South Africans are involved.

FILE. More than 17 hours has now lapsed since gunmen stormed a hotel in Mali but there are no details of exactly how many South Africans were caught up in the fight. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

JOHANNESBURG - While the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) is still awaiting information from the embassy in Mali about South Africans involved in the hostage drama at a hotel, the Gift of the Givers Foundation has confirmed a volunteer who was in the building is alive and unharmed.

More than 17 hours has now lapsed since gunmen stormed a hotel in Mali but there are no details of exactly how many South Africans were caught up in the fight.

According to reports, Malian Special Forces ended the siege this morning, freeing at least five hostages.

Dirco spokesperson Nelson Kgwete said Mali authorities are still trying to determine the identities and nationalities of those held hostage in the hotel.

"The embassy has not yet been given concrete information as to the whereabouts and wellbeing of South African nationals in that situation."

Gift of the Givers said they have made contact with one of their volunteers who was in the building at the time of the shooting.

The organisation's Imtiaz Sooliman said the man hid in his hotel room.

"He was in the bathroom and he had to sort-of duck in a tub because bullets were flying everywhere. He was rescued this morning."

It's unclear who the gunmen are.