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Mali Arrests Two in Hotel Attack

  • Katarina Hoije

Tight security surrounds Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as he visits the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, Nov. 21, 2015.

Tight security surrounds Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as he visits the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, Nov. 21, 2015.

Malian authorities have arrested two men in connection with the terrorist attack that killed 22 people at an upscale Bamako hotel.

According to Amadou Sangho of the Ministry for Security and Civil Protection, a cell phone found Thursday at the hotel led to the arrest of two Malian men.

"This new piece of evidence," he said. "This item, we hope it will bring the investigation forward.”

He said the two suspects were picked up by Malian special forces in Bamako.

Gunmen entered the Radisson Blu hotel the morning of November 20, firing indiscriminately at guests and staff. Survivors say they then headed for the two uppermost floors, specifically looking for foreigners.

Authorities still have not identified the bodies of two gunmen killed during the siege.

Sangho said investigators are looking for accomplices. He hinted that several people are being questioned or investigated.

“Because the gunmen were killed in the attack, we have to find those who assisted them or helped them plan the attack," he said. "To identify the two terrorists is our main priority."

Two jihadist groups in Mali have issued claims of responsibility for the attack.

Sangho says identifying the two gunmen will allow authorities to determine which group is behind the attack.

“We need to know who these men are, what’s their nationality, why they did this and who they were working for,” he said.

American investigators from the FBI are in Mali assisting with the investigation. Arms and ammunitions recovered at the crime scene are being sent to an FBI laboratory in Virginia for further analysis.

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