The Latest: Mali hotel cook escaped attackers through window

AP News
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Posted: Nov 21, 2015 12:03 PM

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

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4 p.m.

A cook at Bamako's Radisson Blu hotel says he escaped the attack by extremists by jumping out the window after being shot at.

Mohammed Coulibaly said on Saturday that he had been in the kitchen cooking when a waitress ran in to say they were under attack. As he left the kitchen he encountered guests fleeing from the dining room.

"I asked everyone to go into the hallway and then suddenly we heard the footsteps of the jihadis behind us and there was total panic and people were running in every direction," he said.

Coulibaly then tried to hide near the bathrooms but was seen by the attackers and shot at. He then fled back to the kitchen, which was rapidly filling with smoke.

"I realized that if I didn't leave the kitchen, the smoke would kill me so I waited until it was quiet and I jumped through the hotel window," he said.

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3:15 p.m.

A guard at the Mali hotel that was targeted Friday by Islamic extremists said the attackers struck just as the security teams were preparing to switch from the night shift to the morning shift, catching them by surprise.

Cheick Dabo, part of the security team at the Radisson Blu hotel, said Saturday that five guards were present when two gunmen arrived on foot Friday morning at around 7 a.m. He said the guards were armed with two pistols and a shotgun between them but were "not concentrating" and "didn't expect" the attack.

Dabo said the attackers fired on the guards, killing one and injuring three. Dabo himself hid under a car.

The attack turned into a siege that lasted more than seven hours, killing 20 people plus the two gunmen.

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1:40 p.m

A Russian governor says the six Russians killed in Mali are part of the plane crew for the Russian cargo company Volga-Dnepr, which operates across the African continent.

Sergei Morozov, governor of the central Russian Ulyanovsk region where the crew members were from, said on national television Saturday that six other Volga-Dnepr employees were also at the hotel at the time and were safe.

Morozov said the Ulyanovsk region would declare Monday a day of mourning for the killed Russians.

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1:15 p.m.

Mali's interior minister says that of the 19 people killed in Friday's attack on a luxury hotel in the capital, 18 were guests, while the other was a member of the military police guarding the hotel.

Salif Traore said Saturday at a press conference that 17 guests were also injured along with three Malian police officers.

Officials had earlier confirmed that two assailants were killed on Friday after a siege that lasted more than seven hours. Security forces are now hunting "more than three" suspects who may also have been involved.

Traore credited Malian security forces for their quick response which he said limited the number of fatalities. He said the assailants were "determined to die" regardless of the security measures in place.

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1 p.m.

A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry says six Russians were killed in Friday's attack in Mali on the Radisson Blu hotel.

Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Saturday that the Russians, along with 13 other foreign nationals, were killed by the attackers at the hotel restaurant.

The brazen assault on the Radisson Blu hotel in the capital killed 20 people as well as two assailants.

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This story has been corrected to say the official death toll announced by the interior minister for the attack was 19 victims as well as the two attackers.