Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Money | By Oscar Reynolds

Gunfire heard at Mali resort area popular with foreigners

Gunfire heard at Mali resort area popular with foreigners

At least two people were killed and 30 others rescued on Sunday after gunmen attacked a luxury resort popular with Westerners near Mali's capital city of Bamako, a source briefed on the investigation told CNN.

Le Campement Kangaba resort in Dougourakoro, east of the capital, Bamako, is the site under attack, according to officials.

"I heard gunfire coming from the camp and I saw people running out of the tourist site", said Modibo Diarra, who lives nearby.

Hostages and casualties have been reported.

However, he said two people had been killed, including a French-Gabonese citizen and another whose nationality was not yet known, he said.

Malian special forces, backed up by French and United Nations soldiers, have already surrounded the resort and sealed off the area. "I learned that it was a terrorist attack".

"The operation is ongoing and we estimate that there are between three and four assailants", said Commandant Modibo Traore, a spokesman for the Malian special forces in the former French colony.

One of the extremists was wounded but managed to escape. Witnesses described smoke in the air, according to local media.

It was not immediately known how many guests were there at the time of the attack.

Sunday's violence came about a week after the U.S. State Department warned of "possible future attacks on Western diplomatic missions, other locations in Bamako that Westerners frequent".

In 2012 Mali's north fell under the control of groups linked to Al-Qaeda who hijacked an ethnic Tuareg-led rebel uprising, though the militants were largely ousted by a French-led military operation in January 2013.

An official in Macron's office said the president has been informed about the attack and he and his teams are following the evolving events. In March 2015, five people died when militants hit a popular restaurant in the capital.

That attack was claimed by al-Qaeda's North African affiliate al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim).

Late a year ago, the U.S. State Department also warned U.S. citizens against traveling to Mali "because of ongoing terrorist attacks and criminal violence".

Associated Press writers Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal, and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.

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