A number of Chinese tourists are among the 170 hostages being held by gunmen at the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako, according to China’s state news wire Xinhua.

mali hostage taking
Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015. Photo: AFP/Sebastien Rieussec.

Automatic weapons fire could be heard from outside the city-centre hotel where security sources say “jihadists” had entered the compound in a car with diplomatic plates.

Xinhua cited a guest surnamed Chen, who is among a group of Chinese nationals “trapped” at the hotel.

mali plates
Photo: Malikahere.

The hotel’s US-based parent company, Rezidor Hotel Group, confirmed that two people were holding 140 guests and 30 employees hostage. A statement read: “Our safety and security teams and our corporate team are in constant contact with the local authorities in order offer any support possible to reinstate safety and security at the hotel.”

mali hostage
Photo: Malikahere.

The incident follows another hostage-taking at a hotel in the Malian town of Sevare where five UN workers were killed.

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.