Foreigners rescued in Mali siege

  • 08/08/2015

Five foreigners have been evacuated and a "number" of hostages freed after being trapped by gunmen in a hotel stand-off in central Mali that's left at least seven people dead.

The attackers stormed the hotel, frequented by foreign visitors and troops, about on Friday morning.

Malian forces have cordoned off the area and it's not clear how many people are still being held by the attackers.

Part of the UN peacekeeping mission is also staying in the hotel, the government says.

"We cannot say that everything is finished, but a number of hostages" were freed by Malian forces deployed around the Hotel Byblos in Sevare, a military source said.

Malian Special Forces had rescued the hostages, including five foreigners "who were evacuated to Bamako", another military source said.

A government statement gives a provisional toll of "five dead, two injured" on the Malian army side and "two killed" on the insurgent side. Seven suspects had been detained, it added.