Suspected jihadists hit resort in Mali's capital

Malian soldiers later succeeded in entering the resort area, according to Commandant Modibo Traore, a spokesperson for the Malian special forces in the former French colony.

Malian troops and soldiers from France's Barkhane counter-terrorism force were called to Le Campement in Dougourakoro, a resort popular with westerners east of Bamako. "Campement Kangaba is blocked off and an operation is underway", Security Ministry spokesman Baba Cisse said by telephone.

"The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens of a possible increased threat of attacks against Western diplomatic missions, places of worship, and other locations in Bamako where Westerners frequent".

The gunmen shouted "Allahu akbar" as they opened fire on tables of people who were gathered for breakfast at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, a witness said.

That attack was claimed by the militant group al-Mourabitoun, which said it collaborated with an al-Qaida affiliate in the violence. In March that year, a grenade and gun attack on La Terrasse nightclub in Bamako killed five people, including foreigners.

Sunday's attack is the latest in a series of high-profile assaults in the north and west Africa, targeting locals and tourists.

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In January 2016, 30 people were killed, including many foreigners, in an attack on a top Burkina Faso hotel and a nearby restaurant in the capital Ouagadougou.

Andrea de Georgio, a freelance journalist in Bamako, also quoted officials as saying that at least two people were killed.

French troops and a 10,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force have battled to stabilize the former French colony and strikes on Malian and Western targets have spread further south and far beyond traditional militant strongholds.

The UN has a 12 000-strong force known as Minusma in Mali, which began operations in 2013.

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