Malian special forces stormed the Radisson Blu in Bamako after gunmen reportedly aligned with al Qaeda took hundreds of guests and staff hostage.

According to the AFP, at least 27 people are dead and about 170 were being held in the hotel as security forces went floor to floor searching for the attackers.

One of the rescued, Guinean singer Sékouba ‘Bambino’ Diabate, told Reuters he heard some of the gunmen speaking in English.

“We heard shots coming from the reception area. I didn’t dare go out of my room because it felt like this wasn’t just simple pistols – these were shots from military weapons,” Diabate said.

“The attackers went into the room next to mine. I stayed still, hidden under the bed, not making a noise,” he said. “I heard them say in English ‘Did you load it?’, ‘Let’s go’.”

Located in Mali’s capital, the Radisson Blu is popular with Westerners and tourists, and a Belgian government worker has been confirmed among the dead.

At least six Americans were rescued from the hotel, but there is no word on whether any U.S. citizens are among the dead.

President Obama has been briefed on the situation.

Mali is a former French colony and has been battling Islamic extremists and other anti-governmental groups for years. In 2013, France launched “Operation Serval,” a military intervention in the country after the interim Malian government requested its help to oust extremists.

After the events in Paris, a radical jihadist told Reuters to expect more attacks against France, partly due to its actions in Mali.

“This is just the beginning. We also haven’t forgotten what happened in Mali,” the man said. “The bitterness from Mali, the arrogance of the French, will not be forgotten at all.”

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  • bluelight74

    Gunmen speaking English, doesn’t that make you wonder….

    • A.P.-CT

      Wonder what?

    • bluelight74

      Who trained, armed and equipped these people? There are no advanced munitions manufacturing facilities in that part of the world. Who really is responsible for coordinating these attacks? Who really stands to benefit from the aftermath of these attacks?

    • I am not surprised given that Osama Bin Ladin and other extremists had been supplied with money and weaponry through Saudi Arabia. We have to keep in mind that many of these terrorist groups and organizations have ties to and connections to individuals in “so-called” allied countries with ulterior motives. That is why Bush should have never invaded Iraq. When they destabilized Iraq after removing Saddam, they have essentially unleashed a hornet’s nest that we are still trying to get out of.

    • bluelight74

      Who do you think is behind the Saudis or who put Saddam in power to begin with? Please go look up the 1953 Iranian overthrow of their democratic government. Look at who did it and why. This will give you an understanding of current events. Also have a look at Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

    • The 1916 Sykes Picot Agreement aided the Saudi aristocrats while creating artificial borders in the Middle East. Saddam was aided by the West (he received many weapons by the U.S. during the 1980’s) and then the West attacked him. The CIA and MI5 worked together to overthrow Iran’s democratically elected government in 1953 via Operation Ajax. I heard of the book Confession of an Economic Hitman as well. More and more people know the truth. Thank you for showing that information.

    • bluelight74

      Excellent, so few people know the true causes of today’s middle east. It started like you said right around ww1. The formation of the British Petroleum corporation, the creation of the artificial borders. The creation of the House of Saud. The defeat of the Germans and the dissolution of the Ottoman empire with the help of the native middle easterners and the subsequent betrayal of them by the Western powers ( Britain, France and the U.S.)

    • Thank you Sister.

      After WWI, the Treaty of Versailles pretty much never resolved issues completely and it ignored the legitimate aspirations of the global South movements who wanted real self determination and nationhood. The British Petroleum companies wanted oil and the Western elites opposed any Arabic states who wanted a nationalization of resources or wanted an independent path. That is why the West had conflicts with Nasser since he was more independent than the House of Saud (who were allies of the West for decades. The House of Saud is brutal and they violate the rights of the residents of Saudi Arabia constantly). The Ottoman Empire (who were headed by sultans and the secular Kemal Attaturk opposed the Ottoman Empire too) were allies of Germany and they were defeated after WWI. The Middle Easterners were betrayed by the British, the French, and the U.S. The movie Lawrence of Arabia documents this fact as well.

    • bluelight74

      I was going to mention Lawrence of Arabia, but I’m kinda conflicted by it.

    • I know what you mean. Lawrence of Arabia was controversial. The Ottoman Empire was bound to end since it was decline. WWI just accelerated the end of the Ottoman Empire. WWI has an interesting history. I like to study war history too.

    • Also, I forgot one more thing. ISIS has killed mostly Muslims and most people fighting ISIS are mostly Sunni Muslims, therefore, we are opposed to making this a Sunni vs. Shia thing. ISIS is the antithesis to Muslim people. We want justice. We are opposed to ISIS and we are opposed to Western imperialism. You know your stuff.

      Goodnight Sister.

    • Thanks for the info. I will certainly look that up.

    • Yes Sister,

      The Iraq War should have never happened in the first place.

    • Reina Benoir

      Which one?

    • Both in 1991 and in 2003, especially in 2003.

  • I have not been keeping up (as well as I should) with the latest news and development in regards to Isis or this latest incident occurring to Mali. However, it seems to me that there needs to be a balanced approach and more of these countries that are in the region need to step up to the plate. One of the things that is frustrating to me (and why I have not been keeping up with the developments closely) is the two-faced actions of key countries. For instance, when Turkey became involved with the war on ISIS, they had also deliberately bombed kurdish regimes in the process because of ongoing border disputes stemming from years past and the overall history of disputes. Russia may supposedly become involved. However, they are still supporting Assad. Then there is Germany who (if they actually did) decided to put sanctions on Russia at the last minute months after Russia (or their supporting militia) had bombed a commercial airplane flying over Ukraine. Everyone seems to be self-serving and only become involved when it is their country under fire and only if there are special interest economic reasons to not do so.

  • The situation in Mali has existed for a long time. There is the existence of the Taureg in the North and the other ethnic groups in the South that disagree on politics, culture, and on government. Many terrorists have exploited the differences between the Northern and Southern region of Mali as a means to promote conflicts. Also, the rest of the words must be said. The truth must be told. Mali has been a victim of French neocolonialism for a long time. I read a lot about the history of Mali and France. So, French colonialism is evil just like terrorism is evil too. French military forces have occupied Mali. I’m glad that the Hotel was finally freed from the terrorists, but things get deeper. Many of the terrorists have been aided not only by the Gulf States, but by the West. One example is how the West aided the Libyan terrorists, the Mujahedeen back in the late 1970’s-1980, etc. France also massively bombed Libya. Assad is an autocratic leader that I don’t agree with on many issues, but he didn’t originate ISIS. ISIS came about as a result of Iraqi war and occupation. ISIS has been made up of many Sunnis who were radicalized unfortunately to do nihilistic actions. Turkey is headed by a dictator who has suppressed free speech rights and bombed Kurds in Northern Syria. Russia is a nationalist country, but even Russia isn’t responsible for the attacks in Paris or in the origin of the Syrian civil war.

    Western-backed NGOs and other forces aided the coup in Ukraine and Ukraine is headed by a neoliberal puppet leader (many people in Ukraine have ties to neo-Nazis and other far right extremists). Crimea became independent via referendum, which they have a right to do. Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters are desiring autonomy and independence. A certain segment of the terrorists have been financed, aided, and organized by money from the Gulf States and by the West (directly and indirectly). There should be an international collaboration to use national and international law to make sure that criminals (whether they are terrorists found in the Middle East or terrorists found in the Western political establishment) are held accountable along with political long term solutions.