Africa’s richest business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, debunked report yesterday that he was one of the over 170 persons held hostage in Friday’s attack by gunmen at the Radisson Blu hotel, in Bamako, the Malian capital.
Dangote refuted the reports in a tweet via his Twitter handle @AlikoDangote. He said: “Rumour about me being held hostage is false. I was in Mali yesterday. Thank you for your concern. My prayers with those involved.”
Gunmen shouting Islamic slogans attacked a luxury hotel full of foreigners in Mali’s capital, Bamako, early on Friday morning, taking 170 people hostage, a senior security source and the hotel’s operator said.
Though the hostages were later rescued by the combined Malian, French, German, and American forces, it was however, not clear how many of the attackers were still held up in the hotel, while two were confirmed killed as at the time of going to the press.
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 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.
The U.S. Embassy tweeted that it was “aware of an ongoing active shooter operation at the Radisson Hotel,” and instructed its citizens to stay indoors. An Islamist group claimed responsibility for the death of five people last March in an attack on a restaurant in Bamako that is popular with foreigners.

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