Mali forces kill five militants over hotel

Mali's security minister says security forces have killed at least four extremists after an attack Sunday that left two people dead at a spot popular with foreigners.

Mr Traore said the militants had accomplices who had not been killed or detained.

French troops and a 10,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force have battled to stabilise the former French colony, which is riven by ethnic conflict and plagued by dozens of armed groups.

It was the latest in a series of high-profile assaults in north and west Africa targeting locals and tourists, including in neighbouring Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, but no-one has yet claimed responsibility.

Two other guests, whom Malian security officials said were Cameroonian and French-Gabonese, were killed, as was a Malian soldier.

"We have recovered the bodies of two attackers who were killed", Salif Traore told journalists, adding that they were "searching for the bodies of two others", without specifying if any more were on the run.

That attack was claimed by al-Qaeda's North African affiliate, the al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group.

Two of the three attackers of the Mali tourist resort were killed, after they attacked the luxury resort popular with Westerners near Mali's capital city of Bamako.

The country's security has gradually worsened since 2013, when French forces repelled allied Islamist and Tuareg rebel fighters from parts of the north.

The minister said an attacker had been wounded and fled, leaving a submachine gun and six bottles of explosives behind.

Mali has been in a state of emergency nearly continuously since the attack against a five-star hotel in the capital on November 20th, 2015, which left 22 people dead.

"One thing is sure: They are becoming more responsive", said Adam Thiam, a Malian analyst and expert on the conflict. "Some terrorists were neutralized", a spokesperson for the Ministry said. French President Emmanuel Macron was informed about the attack and was following the events carefully, according to an official in his office.

A week back, the USA embassy in Mali had issued an alert about heightened dangers for foreigners at popular spots in Bamako.

The African Union condemned the attack and reiterated its commitment to support Mali in combating terrorism.

A week ago the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs warned of possible attacks on Western diplomatic missions or other locations visited by westerners in Bamako.

"I am exhausted, shocked". "All I want to do is to see the list of my clients".

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