June 18 (UPI) — Jihadists are suspected of killing at least two people with gunfire in a luxury resort located near Bamako, Mali’s capital city.
Mali’s Ministry of Security and Civil Protection blamed “armed individuals, certainly terrorists” for the attack at Le Campement, a popular resort for westerners, according to a statement.
“They [the armed men] exchanged gunshots with members of the special anti-terrorist force (FORSAT) who had arrived just a few minutes after the attack. FORSAT managed to secure the surroundings of the site. The operation to secure the premises is in progress,” the statement added.
At least one of the dead victims was a French national, reported the Guardian. The nationality of the other victim is unknown at this time.
At least 14 were injured in the attack and taken to a nearby hospital.
Malian armed forces have moved into the area and Mali’s security ministry spokesman, Baba Cisse, said the situation is now “under control.”
“Security forces are in place. Campement Kangaba is blocked off and an operation is under way,” Cisse said.
Commandant Modibo Traore, a spokesman for the Malian special forces, told the Independent that there are “between three and four assailants.”
Modibo Diarra lives near the resort and witnessed the attack.
“I heard gunfire coming from the camp and I saw people running out of the site,” Diarra said.
This isn’t the first time a hotel was attacked in Bamako.
On Nov. 20, 2015, jihadists took 170 hostages at the Radisson Blu hotel in that city and killed 19 people. Two jihadists also died in the attack.
More recently, Al Qaeda took responsibility for a car bomb blast in northern Mali that killed at least 50 people in January.
There is an active jihadi scene in Mali and several jihadi groups operate there. In March, three of them announced they will merge together to for the Group to Support Islam and Muslims.
“This is 1 area of world where the 1st suspect is not ISIS,” tweeted New York Times terrorism reporter Rukmini Callimachi.