Islamic gunmen have seized control of a luxury hotel in the capital of Mali and have taken some 170 hostages, a number of them are reported to be Chinese.
The hostages at the Radisson Blue hotel in Bamako include 140 guests and 30 employees, according to the hotel’s US-based parent company.
A Chinese guest surnamed Chen told Xinhua via WeChat that he was among a number of Chinese guests trapped in the hotel.
According to CNN, two Islamic militants were able to enter the compound in a car with diplomatic plates. Automatic weapon fire has been heard from outside the building and three deaths have been reported at this time.
The luxury hotel is located in an influential part of the city, surrounded by homes of many government officials and diplomats.
Xinhua has tweeted this video allegedly taken by one of the Chinese hostages:
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) November 20, 2015
[UPDATE, 20:05] At least 80 of the hostages have been released.
Just in: At least 80 of 170 hostages freed from Radisson Hotel in #Mali capital, Bamako – state broadcaster, ORTM
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 20, 2015
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) November 20, 2015
[Images via Sina News // Xinhua]