Bamako: Two armed guards and three employees, all locals, were among the 20 victims of a jihadist attack on a Mali hotel last week, the chief executive of the hotel’s owners have said.
“We have lost three staff members and two members of our security service,” said Wolfgang Neumann, CEO of the Rezidor Hotel Group, which owns the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako.
There had been three armed guards on duty on the morning of the siege, he told a press conference yesterday.
Fourteen other fatalities in the November 20 siege were foreigners: six Russians, three Chinese, two Belgians, an American, an Israeli and a Senegalese.
In addition to the five victims who were working in the hotel, a Mali police officer also died.
The two assailants, of unknown nationality, were also killed after Malian and international troops stormed the building.
The victims’ bodies remain in Bamako due to the ongoing enquiry.
Neumann visited grieving families and some of those injured in the attack and also met with Malian President Boubacar Keita.
“The terrorists won’t win, we are going to quickly reopen the hotel,” Neumann promised.
Around 100 of the hotel’s employees gathered at the entrance to the building yesterday to pay tribute to the victims.
Flowers have been placed outside, including a wreath draped with the national flag and bearing a message from a local association reading: “Homage to the victims of Radisson Blu. May God welcome you in his infinite mercy”.
Gunmen had entered the 190-room hotel compound in Bamako at around 0700 GMT on Friday in a car with diplomatic plates.
According to the Rezidor group, 170 guests and staff were initially trapped inside.
US special forces helped rescue at least six Americans from the hotel, while French paramilitary police specialised in hostage situations were also in Mali to assist.
Two separate jihadist groups have claimed responsibility for the assault, and investigators are searching for possible accomplices.