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Mali declares state of emergency

A 30-day state of emergency has been declared by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after the attack.

FILE: Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on 20 November, 2015. Gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, seizing 170 guests and staff in an ongoing hostage-taking that has left at least three people dead. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Mali government has declared a state of emergency after the attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako.

Mali security forces have confirmed that 19 people were killed in the siege and two militants were also shot dead yesterday.

French and US forces stormed the building and rescued about 170 people, many of them foreigners.

Seven people were also wounded in the attack, which has been claimed by a jihadist group working with al-Qaeda.

CNN's Robyn Kriel reported that, "Boko Haram pledged allegiance to Isis earlier this year, becoming Isis' largest affiliate. At the time, the Nigerian based terror group consisted of roughly 6,000 fighters and controlled up to 20,000 kilometres of northeastern Nigeria. Northern Mali has however been traditionally an al-Qaeda stronghold."

Survivors have recounted harrowing tails of how the gunmen moved from floor to floor shooting everyone in sight.

This man, an employee at the hotel, tried to save some of the guests.

"When these people attacked I did not have the time to get close to them. It was hard for me to move around, they started shooting at everybody without asking a single question. They were shooting at anything that moved."

The assault is the latest in a series of deadly raids this year on high-profile targets in Mali, which has battled Islamist rebels based in its desert north for years.

At the same time, US President Barack Obama says the attack only strengthens the resolve of the US to destroy terror groups.

One of the victims was an American, prompting Obama to say the action by an al-Qaeda offshoot stiffens the superpower's resolve to fight terrorism.

UN troops helping the rescue operation found bodies in the basement and on the second floor of the Radisson hotel.

A 30-day state of emergency has been declared by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita who cut short a visit to Chad to deal with the emergency.

Both gunmen, who stormed into the hotel early on Friday shouting Allahu Akbar, taking 170 hostages, were killed by Malian commandos aided by US and French Special Forces.

A Belgian and a Canadian were also among those killed.

German, French, Turkish, Chinese and Indian nationals were among the rescued.

DIRCO CONDEMNS MALI ATTACK

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has condemned the attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel.

The department says it is working with officials in Mali to safeguard South Africans in that country adding that any citizens in that country should contact the embassy.

Department's spokesperson Clayson Monyela says the use of force and intimidation to address political disagreements can never be condoned.

"We would like to condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent attack in Bamako that claimed many innocent lives. We don't believe that there's any space for terrorism to be allowed in our society; we reject terrorism."

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