An “ongoing attack” has roiled a luxury resort just outside Mali’s capital, Bamako, the U.S. State Department confirmed Sunday. “Malian forces are responding” to the attack at Le Campement Kangaba, the agency tweeted, warning U.S. citizens to avoid the area.
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 18, 2017
“There was an exchange of gunfire with special anti-terrorist forces (FORSAT) who arrived only a few minutes after the attack began,” Mali’s ministry of security said in a statement. “The special forces have now sealed off the perimeters of the site and are in the process of securing it.”
“The situation is under control,” ministry spokesman Baba Cisse told Reuters by telephone.
The United Nations mission to the country tells NPR the Malian security forces are in charge of the operation.
Black smoke rises from tourist resort in Bamako, Mali as 'major attack' unfolds. pic.twitter.com/OWv75mAc41
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) June 18, 2017
It is not immediately clear whether there have been casualties in the attack.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Embassy in Mali warned Americans 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 Embassy said.
Late last year, the U.S. State Department also warned U.S. citizens against traveling to Mali “because of ongoing terrorist attacks and criminal violence.”
Another luxury site popular with tourists came under attack in Mali in 2015, when gunmen stormed a Radisson Blu hotel in the country’s capital, killing at least 19 people.
That attack was claimed by the militant group al-Mourabitoun, which said it collaborated with an al-Qaida affiliate in the violence.
This is a developing story. Some things that get reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.