Mali in mourning after hotel siege

The three day mourning period comes after two gunmen gained access to a hotel and killed guests.

Officers evacuate bodies of victims from the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015, after the assault of security forces. Malian forces backed by French troops stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in the capital Bamako after suspected Islamist gunmen seized guests and staff in a nine-hour hostage crisis that left at least 21 people dead. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - One week on from the Paris terror attacks, Mali has entered into three days of mourning the 21 people killed in a siege at a hotel in the capital, Bamako.

Two gunmen, using a car with diplomatic plates, gained access to the Radisson Blu Hotel yesterday going from room to room killing guests.

Malian, French and US troops then entered the building confronting the gunmen who were shot dead.

Mali has declared a state of emergency as it counts the costs of last night's attacks, the latest in a series of deadly raids this year on high-profile targets in Mali.

Security analyst Ryan Cummings says the region has battled Islamist rebels based in its desert north for years.

"In a short term, it would be to focus on the actual security dynamic in Mali. The country's north desert hosts a number of armed groups."

The South African government has joined the US and other governments in condemning the attacks adding that more must be done to secure African countries consistently terrorised by militant groups.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has called for the international community to rally behind African governments in ousting militant groups terrorising countries in Africa.

Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela says there is no place for terrorists on any continent, particularly this one.

"We reject terrorism in all shapes, forms and from whichever quarter it comes from. We would like to convey a message of sincere condolences to the government and the people of Mali, particularly families of the victims, and other countries that have lost loved ones."

The department is urging South African citizens in Mali to contact the embassy.

Monyela says officials are working with their counterparts in Mali to ensure the safety of all South Africans.

"We condemn it in the strongest possible way and we don't think there is space for terrorism in our society."