The Latest: Senegal president visits Mali attack site

AP News
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Posted: Nov 22, 2015 3:09 PM
The Latest: Senegal president visits Mali attack site

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The latest on the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako. (All times local):

8 p.m.

Senegalese President Macky Sall, current chairman of the regional ECOWAS bloc, has visited the luxury hotel in Mali's capital that was shot up by gunmen in an attack that killed 19 people.

During a joint news conference with Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after touring the attack site, Sall said Sunday that a regional meeting to discuss security concerns would be convened in the coming days, though he provided no details.

Like other countries in the region, Senegal is worried about the threat posed by Islamic militants. Earlier this month, Senegalese authorities announced that several imams had been arrested on suspicion of having ties to the Nigeria-based extremist group Boko Haram.

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2:15 p.m.

A Malian army commander says the two gunmen who shot up a luxury hotel in the capital on Friday were armed with two Kalashnikov assault rifles, explosives and "a large amount of ammunition."

Maj. Modibo Nama Traore said Sunday that the gunmen had grenades and other explosives but did not use them in the course of the more than seven-hour siege that killed 19 people. The two attackers also died.

On Saturday, Traore said Malian security forces were hunting for "more than three" people who may have been involved in the attack.

He said no new arrests had been made.

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1:30 p.m.

A coalition of separatist groups in northern Mali says Friday's assault on a luxury hotel in the capital was a clear attempt to derail the peace talks they are carrying out with the government.

The assault on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako that killed 19 people took place as it was preparing to host the latest meeting of a committee working toward implementation of the peace accord signed by northern rebel groups and the government in June.

Sidi Brahim Ould Sidati, a representative of the Coordination of Azawad Movements and a signatory to the accord, said Sunday that although Mali's Islamic extremist groups were divided they all wanted to doom the peace process.

He said leaflets threatening parties to the accord were distributed in northern cities on Saturday.

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12:30 p.m.

Pope Francis has condemned the attack by extremists in a Mali hotel that killed at least 19 people as he prepares to visit three African nations.

The Vatican secretary of state said in a telegram Sunday to the archbishop of Bamoko, Monsignor Jean Zerbo, that the pope "is appalled by this senseless violence," which he "strongly condemns."

The pope leaves Wednesday on a six-day trip to Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic. During his weekly Angelus blessing, he asked the faithful in St. Peter's Square to pray for "peace and prosperity" in these countries.

Due to security concerns, the pope's top bodyguard is doing an unusual last-minute visit to conflict-wrecked Central African Republic.

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10 a.m.

Guinea President Alpha Conde says he will announce a three-day mourning period for victims of Friday's attack on a luxury hotel in neighboring Mali's capital that killed 19 people.

Speaking at the headquarters of his political party Sunday, Conde also urged residents to be vigilant and report anyone who looks suspicious.

"When you see a foreigner in your area and you don't know his destination, you need to ask him and if he doesn't give good information call the authorities," Conde said.

Guinea has not been attacked or threatened by Islamic extremists so far.

Conde did not specify when the mourning would begin. Mali's mourning period begins at midnight.