Authorities investigate after hotel attack in central Mali

AP News
Posted: Aug 10, 2015 1:54 PM

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Authorities launched investigations at the hotel that was attacked in central Mali, a United Nations official said Monday.

Islamic extremists attacked the Hotel Byblos starting Friday in the first assault in central Mali's Sevare. Four U.N. workers were rescued after hiding during the 24-hour siege by Islamic extremists that killed 10 soldiers and U.N. contractors, along with three jihadists.

"Malian authorities have sought our technical support to analyze some clues found at the scene," including arms and using DNA analysis, said U.N. Mali mission spokeswoman Radhia Achouri.

Islamic extremist Moktar Belmoktar's group, Al Mourabitoun, claimed responsibility for the attack late Sunday, according to Mauritanian news agency Al-Akhbar which often carries credible claims from jihadist groups.

The statement said the group will soon publish how it planned the operation, according to the report. The al-Qaida-linked group also claimed responsibility for a March attack that killed five people at a restaurant popular with foreigners in Bamako, the capital.

Sevare, a garrison town about 600 kilometers (375 miles) northeast of Bamako, is at the heart of Mali's tourism industry and up until now had not been targeted in the attacks more common in the north. The extremists' attacks are moving further south and directly targeting Malian soldiers and the U.N.

Mali also saw more violence in the north over the weekend, a Timbuktu resident said Monday.

Tuareg separatists attacked the village of Gaberi, killing 10 people, said Ibrahim Ag Issa who spoke to his parents there. The Tuaregs were retaliating after a government-allied group beheaded a separatist, he said.

Mali's government signed a peace deal with Tuareg separatist rebels earlier this year.