Reports: South Africans part of group held captive in Mali

International Relations is yet to confirm whether there are in fact South Africans among the hostages.

FILE. French army soldiers stand on armoured vehicles as they leave Bamako and start their deployment to the north of Mali as part of the 'Serval' operations. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Reports say a Ukrainian hostage who managed to escape a siege by a suspected Islamist group, in Mali claims three South Africans and a Russian national are part of a group still being held captive at Hotel Debo.

The hotel in central Mali is understood to be a popular choice among United Nations staff, tourists and troops.

South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) is yet to confirm if indeed there are any South Africans among the hostages.

So far, five soldiers and three militants have been killed during a stand-off that started on Friday.

Eyewitness News has learnt a United Nations employee has also been killed.

However, there's still no clarity on the exact number of hostages inside the building.

Previous reports have put the number at around 10.