The Richest man in Africa, Mr. Aliko Dangote has dismissed the rumour making the rounds that he was among the hostages holed up in Radisson Blu hotel in Mali the Islamist Jihadists.
Dangote refuted the report in a tweet via his Twitter handle@AlikoDangote: “Rumour about me being held hostage is false. I was in Mali yesterday. Thank you for your concern. My prayers with those involved.”
Meanwhile, the raid on the Radisson Blu hotel, which lies just west of the city centre near government ministries and diplomatic offices in the former French colony, comes less than three days after the deadly Boko Haram bombings of Kano city in Nigeria, which resulted in deaths of hundreds of Nigerians and less than a week after Islamic State (IS) militants killed 129 people in Paris.
The identity of the Bamako gunmen, or the group to which they belong, is not known. Northern Mali was occupied by Islamist fighters, some with links to al Qaeda, for most of 2012.
Although they were driven out by a French-led military operation, sporadic violence has continued. The security source said as many as 10 gunmen had stormed the building, firing shots and shouting “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is great” in Arabic.
The Chinese state news agency Xinhua said several Chinese tourists were among those trapped inside the building. The company that runs the hotel, Rezidor Group, said it understood that there were two gunmen. “According to our information, two people are holding 140 clients and 30 employees,” it said in a statement quoted by the BBC.
A senior member of the hotel’s security detail said two private security guards had been injured in the early stages of the attack, which began at 7 a.m. (0700 GMT). Witnesses in the area said police had surrounded the hotel and were blocking roads leading into the neighbourhood.