Deadly gun attack on hotel in Mali

Two people were killed and two injured in a suspected gun attack on Wednesday evening by militant Islamists against an emblematic hotel in Mali's Dogon region.

Papa Napo, the owner of Hotel La Falaise at Bandiagara, told the BBC six gunmen arrived on three motorbikes at about 20:00 local time (21:00 BST) and opened fire.

''They shot a national guardsman at the
door. He died later. The attackers fired in all directions. They did not say anything but we believe they were Islamists. My brother and one female member of staff were shot in the feet as they tried to escape," he said.

''The national guards, who are always in front of the hotel, killed one of the attackers. They prevented the Islamists from taking the body away with them,'' he added.

The family-run hotel had no guests at the time of the attack. It opened in 2006 and is well-known to tourists who used to visit Dogon Country in large numbers.

The area in central Mali is a Unesco World Heritage site, famous for its villages embedded in sheer cliffs.

The attack happened just three days after Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga passed through Bandiagara on a national tour.

Until the outbreak of conflict in Mali in 2012, Dogon Country depended on tourism. It now has high unemployment.

In the past 18 months, as violence has spread to central Mali, there have been increasing reports of young men joining self-defence militias to take on militant Islamist fighters.


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