Obama, Xi condemn hostage siege in Mali
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday, November 21, condemned the jihadist hostage siege in Mali that left at least 27 people dead.
Obama called the Mali attack “appalling.” The attack killed an American.
"This barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge," he said during a visit to Malaysia, referring to the global threat of extremist violence.
China's President Xi Jinping, for his part, “strongly condemned" the attack that left 3 Chinese nationals dead, state television reported.
"China will strengthen cooperation with international society to resolutely fight violent terrorist activities that hurt innocent lives, to maintain world peace and tranquillity," China Central Television quoted Xi as saying.
At the same time, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak of Muslim-majority Malaysia railed against the ideological mantle claimed by Islamic militants.
"The perpetrators of these cowardly and barbaric acts do not represent any race, religion or creed," he told fellow Southeast Asian leaders. "They are terrorists."
Linked to Al-Qaeda
This comes after gun-toting jihadists took more than 100 people hostage for around 9 hours at a top hotel in Mali's capital Bamako on Friday, November 20.
Malian security sources said at least 27 hostages were killed.
The assault was claimed by the Al-Murabitoun group, an Al-Qaeda affiliate led by notorious one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
The incident added to fears over the global jihadist threat a week after the devastating Paris attacks that killed 130 people and were claimed by the Islamic State group.
Special forces staged a dramatic floor-by-floor assault to end the Mali siege after about 9 hours.
Speaking on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Kuala Lumpur, Obama said "the terrorists began ruthlessly killing people and taking hostages" at the Bamako hotel.
"On behalf of the American people I want to extend our deepest condolences to the people of Mali and the victims' families, including at least one American," he said.
"These were innocent people who had everything to live for." – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com