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Mali army commander: About 20 hostages freed from Bamako hotel seized by gunmen.

A Malian army commander says about 20 hostages have been released from a hotel in the capital that was seized by gunmen throwing grenades.

The gunmen had seized about 170 hostages on Friday morning at the Radisson Blu Hotel. Military commander Modibo Naman Traore told The Associated Press that about 20 hostages were freed later in the morning.

It was not immediately clear why the group was freed or how many exactly remained held by the militants.

Traore said 10 gunmen stormed the hotel shouting "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great," in Arabic before firing on the guards and taking hostages.

Some guests also have been able to escape the hotel. Monique Kouame Affoue Ekonde, an Ivorian, said she and six other people were escorted out by security forces.