Africa

Mali attack: Bamako's Radisson Blu hotel re-opens

Workers celebrate with Radisson Blu hotel manager Gary Ellis after the hotel reopened in Bamako, Mali, 15 December Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Workers celebrated at the re-opening with the hotel manager who promised a 'winner's spirit'

The luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital, Bamako, has reopened less than a month after it came under attack from Islamist militants.

"This is a victory of life over the jihadists," President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said at the opening ceremony, AFP news agency reports.

Twenty two people died in the siege, including the two attackers.

Mali's state prosecutor said on Monday the gunmen might have been been Somali but investigations were continuing.

Somalia's Islamist militant group al-Shabab has not commented on the allegation.

Three other jihadist groups have previously said they were behind the attack.

These include al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), its offshoot al-Murabitoun and the Macina Liberation Front from central Mali.

Last month, Malian forces in Bamako arrested two people in connection with the attack, but no further arrests have been made.

Security has been increased at the hotel and it is now not possible to drive in front of the building and the road surrounding it has become one-way only.

Image caption There is tight security around the hotel
Image caption Around 100 people attended the opening ceremony, including Mali's president

The hotel's manager, Gary Ellis, told the BBC there were now fences around the hotel, an automatic gate and a scanner for baggage.

"We are resuming our activities with a winner's spirit - we need to erase that terrible day of the attack." he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Many foreigners were staying at the hotel when it came under attack

Abdourahmane Dia from the BBC French Service says that since the attack Bamako has remained on high alert.

Militant groups have become more active in southern Mali this year, he says.

On Sunday, armed men attacked a military barracks in the central town of Niono.

One soldier was injured and two others are still missing.

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