Gunfire reported at Mali tourist resort

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A luxury resort popular with westerners near Mali’s capital city of Bamako was under attack by gunmen Sunday, said the US State Department.

“Ongoing attack at Hotel Kangaba ‘Le Campement’ 30 min southeast of #Bamako, #Mali,” the department tweeted, warning people to “avoid the area.”

Mali’s Ministry of Security and Civil Protection said in a statement “armed individuals – certainly terrorists” attacked the Le Campement resort. The statement said a Malian anti-terror force was on the scene.

“They [the armed men] exchanged gun shots with members of the special anti-terrorist force (FORSAT) who had arrived just a few minutes after the attack. FORSAT managed to secure the surroundings of the site. The operation to secure the premises is in progress,” the statement said.

The EU Training Mission in Mali tweeted a statement that they were aware of the attack and assessing the situation.

Earlier this month, the US Embassy in Bamako had issued a travel warning on its website, saying there was an increased security threat to westerners.

“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. Avoid vulnerable locations with poor security measures in place, including hotels, restaurants and churches,” the warning said.

Le Campement is located on the outskirts of the capital, about 30 minutes from downtown Bamako. The resort is also popular with expatriates who use its facilities to host business meetings and team-building exercises.

The grounds include a hotel, bars, restaurant, spa and swimming pools. The resort also offers live entertainment and several outdoor activities, including bike rides and kayaking on the Niger River.

The former French colony has been battling extremists with help from French forces and the UN.

In November 2015, gunmen raided a Malian hotel and killed at least 22 people, according to the UN Mission in Mali.

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

Two attackers were killed, but it was unclear then whether security forces killed them or whether they blew themselves up, said mission spokesman Olivier Salgado at the time.

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