Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Mali siege death toll likely to rise

09 August 2015, 08:50

Bamako - At least 12 people, including a South African and three other foreign UN contractors, have been confirmed dead in a hostage siege at a hotel in central Mali that ended after government troops stormed the building on Saturday.

"There are 12 dead in all," an army officer told AFP after the operation at the Hotel Byblos in Sevare, listing the fatalities as five "terrorists", five soldiers and "two white people".

Also Read: Mali hotel siege over, hostages freed

A senior source in the Malian army said the final toll had yet to be confirmed and would "probably" be higher.

The UN mission in Mali MINUSMA for its part said two Ukrainians, a Nepalese and a South African were killed in the almost 24-hour-long drama, as well as a Malian driver working for a company contracted by the mission.

Rescued South Africans

It said four other UN contractors - two South Africans, a Russian and a Ukranian - were rescued and were in "good health."

"The attackers did not detect their presence in the hotel and MINUSMA was in permanent contact with them throughout the attack and until its end," it added.

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation said a 38-year-old man from Pretoria was killed in the siege while two other South Africans were safe.

He was identified as Roelof Janse van Rensburg. A foreign ministry spokesperson said he was working for an aviation company hired by MINUSMA.

The Ukrainian foreign ministry said four of its nationals were caught up in the attack, one of whom was killed. One managed to escape while the other two were rescued in the dawn raid by security forces.

Also Read: Several captives freed in Mali hotel siege

UN chief Ban Ki-moon denounced the attack, which comes as Mali is seeking to implement a June peace deal despite continuing unrest from militant groups and a spike in jihadist attacks.

"This attack will not lessen the determination of the United Nations to accompany the Malian people in their efforts to implement the peace agreement," his spokesperson said in a statement.

The US issued a statement that "strongly condemns" the attack, branding it "deplorable". France also denounced "in the strongest possible terms" the siege and reiterated its support for the Malian security forces and MINUSMA "in the fight against terrorism".

Located a few kilometres from the regional capital Mopti, Sevare is a key staging post on the road to Mali's desert north which fell to Islamic extremists in 2012.

Bullet holes

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the assault, which began when gunmen burst into the hotel at around 07:00 on Friday. At least one of the attackers was said to be wearing a belt of explosives.

Malian forces cordoned off the area but their efforts to dislodge the attackers were complicated by the presence of hostages.

There were exchanges of fire throughout Friday and the army brought the siege to an end early on Saturday, with one source saying foreign special forces were also involved.

The UN mission said the initial target of the attack was a Malian military site.

"The attackers, who were pushed back by the Malian armed forces, then took refuge in a hotel," MINUSMA said.

A Ukrainian hostage who managed to escape from the hotel said up to five gunmen had led the hostage-taking in Sevare, which lies 620km northeast of the capital Bamako.

Four Malian soldiers who lost their lives in the attack were buried in the town on Saturday in front of a large crowd of mourners, a local resident told AFP.

"As for the bodies of the hostage takers, they have been left where they are. No one has touched them," the man, who did not wish to be named, said by phone.

The walls of the Byblos hotel were riddled with bullet holes after the attack. The body of an unidentified man was seen lying outside the building near a burnt-out van, pictures from the scene showed on Saturday.

The attack was the third in Mali in just a week as it battles a resurgence in jihadist violence two years after a French-led offensive routed Islamist groups from their northern strongholds.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...