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 Malian army managed to rescue four hostages in hotel attacks

Suspected Islamist militants attacked two hotels in central Mali, killing five Malian soldiers and taking a number of hostages.

Kaman Kane, governor of the Mopti region, told Voice of America French-to-Africa news service the soldiers were killed as gunmen attacked the Debo and Blybos hotels Friday in the town of Sevare, Censor.NET reports.

The governor said the Malian army was able to rescue four French hostages, but that one Ukrainian and one South African were still inside the buildings.

The Malian army was waiting for a French SWAT team from the capital, Bamako, to arrive and intervene.

Islamist militants remain active in northern and central Mali despite the presence of U.N. peacekeepers.

A French-led military force ousted Islamist groups from power in northern Mali in 2013. The groups had seized power in the north after a military coup in Bamako in 2012.

Read more: Armed attack committed on hotel in Mali. One of the hostages is Ukrainian, - Ukraine's Foreign Ministry

At the same time Reuters reports that three Russian pilots are thought to have been kidnapped during an attack on Friday on a hotel in central Mali used by United Nations staff, a Malian army spokesman and another military official said.

"The toll has increased and now there are seven dead, including four Malian soldiers, two terrorists and one white foreigner. Three Russian pilots are believed to have been kidnapped," spokesman Souleymane Maiga said in a text message.

Read more: Ukrainian national escaped from hotel captured by militants in Mali

 
 
 
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