6 Russians killed in Mali hotel attack – foreign ministry
MOSCOW, Russia (UPDATED) – Six Russians who worked for a cargo airline were killed in the siege at a luxury hotel in Mali, the foreign ministry said Saturday, November 21.
In all, 12 Russians – all staff at the Volga-Dnepr airline – were caught up in Friday's hostage-taking in Bamako, but 6 were freed.
Those who died "were shot by gunmen in the restaurant literally in the first minutes of the terrorist attack on the hotel," the ministry said. (READ: Mali hunting at least 3 suspects over hotel attack)
President Vladimir Putin condemned the attack, which was claimed by the Al-Murabitoun group, an Al-Qaeda affiliate run by a notorious one-eyed Algerian militant.
"The inhuman crime committed in Mali's capital again confirms that terrorism knows no borders and is a real danger for the whole world," he said in a statement released by the Kremlin on Saturday.
"People of different nationalities and beliefs become its victims, and it is only possible to confront this threat with the broadest international cooperation."
Five of the dead Russians were from the central Ulyanovsk region, governor Sergei Morozov told RIA Novosti news agency, announcing that Monday would be a day of mourning in the region.
The foreign ministry said the Bamako assault was "aimed at destabilising the situation in Mali and wrecking the process of settling the conflict within the country".
Volga-Dnepr is a private charter airline with 17 planes, according to its website.
In August, a Russian United Nations contractor was among those rescued from an attack at another hotel in central Mali. – Rappler.com