BAMAKO, Mali – Mali's defense ministry adviser says that four hostages have been freed from a hotel in central Mali after a standoff with Islamic extremists that left 13 people dead.
Lt. Col. Diarran Kone said that the operation ended early Saturday and five additional bodies were found in the Hotel Byblos, including four hotel staff and one jihadi. Officials had earlier announced that five Malian soldiers were killed, two jihadis and a U.N. contractor, bringing the total death toll to 13.
Lt. Col. Kone said Mali's gendarmerie and partners ended the standoff that started Friday after the extremists attacked the hotel frequented by U.N. staff.
Mali's jihadi groups have been stepping up their attacks further south from their strongholds in the north.