A dozen militants killed at least 31 people and took hostages at a guesthouse in the center of the Malian city of Mopti on Thursday, local government officials said.
The officials said they were still trying to account for about 60 other people, adding that it was unclear whether some may be still in the building. They said they believed there were around 60 people in the house.
As I headed to the hotel in Mopti I was surprised by a red military convoy heading in our direction. The search for the culprits has begun! pic.twitter.com/6KJxjQNe6j — President Mohammed Boubacar Keita (@PresidentKeita) January 25, 2018
Dozens of security forces were searching the area and securing buildings that could have been used by the militants.
“It’s a war with Islamic fighters,” said Diarran Kone, the president of the local chamber of commerce in Mopti.
A source close to the officials said he believed that most of the victims were Senegalese working at the villa.
The compound that houses the Mopti church is across the road from the Mopti National Railway Company, where security had been tightened before the attack.
In a telephone interview, Siba Dramane, a Senegalese army officer based in Mopti, said that most of the victims were Senegalese, adding that there were some people from Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast among the dead.