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Gunmen hold 170 hostage at Mali hotel, three killed

Bamako: At least three people were killed on Friday as gunmen took 170 people hostage inside a five-star hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako.

The Radisson Blu hotel chain said two armed men locked in 140 guests and 30 employees, CNN reported.

The victims comprised two Malian citizens and a French national, authorities said.

The armed men came in a diplomatic vehicle earlier in the day, firing as they entered the hotel, said witness Amadou Keita, who works at a cultural centre nearby.

The firing went on for several minutes, he said.

Malian soldiers with help from UN troops surrounded the hotel.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the incident.

The Radisson Blu hotel is about 15 minutes away from Bamako Senou International Airport.

A Chinese guest surnamed Chen told Xinhua via a mobile app that he was among a number of Chinese guests trapped in the hotel.

One of the guests staying at the hotel is Nigerian Aliko Dangote – the richest person in Africa.

Idriss Déby Itno, the president of neighbouring Chad, has said: “I condemn in the firmest way possible this barbarous act which has nothing to do with religion.”