Approximately 13 people are feared dead in a hostage siege that took place at the Byblos Hotel in the central town of Sevare, Mali.
Those dead include five UN workers, two Ukrainians, a Nepalese and a South African, according to the UN mission in Mali. Four of the hostages managed to escape and connected with the outside world through their mobile devices.
The siege began on Friday when gunmen stormed into the hotel after attacking a nearby army base. The Malian army and foreign special forces brought the siege to an end after nearly 24 hours, killing four of the gunmen and arresting seven.
None of the extremist groups claimed responsibility for the attack but Macina Liberation Front (FLM) is being considered as the prime suspect by authorities.
The group has been responsible for a number of attacks, including some targeting security forces in central Mali, reported Agence France-Presse.
FLM is expected to be linked to Ansar Dine, Arabic for Defenders of Faith, a group that took control of Mali’s semi-arid north in April 2012.
This is reportedly the first attack on such a scale in the region.
BBC cited a local resident saying: "Since the beginning of the fighting in Mali, we haven’t experienced such a situation in Sevare."
"We would expect these things to happen in Gao or Timbuktu, but this is the first time it has happened in Sevare."