, BAMAKO, Nov 20 – At least seven Chinese tourists are among the hostages at a hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported Friday.
Xinhua said it was in communication with a Chinese hostage, a tourist identified only by his surname Chen, at the Radisson Blu hotel where it said “about 10” gunmen had taken 170 people captive.
Contacted by AFP, an official at the Chinese embassy in the city, surnamed Wang, put the number of Chinese hostages at eight, adding: “We are still trying to verify the exact number.”
The siege comes only two days after the Islamic State group published graphic pictures of a murdered Chinese hostage, Fan Jinghui.
In the wake of Fan’s death, Beijing said that “we must bring these criminals to justice”, although it was unclear what actions the government would take.
President Xi Jinping was quoted by state media as saying: “Terrorism is the public enemy of human beings.”
China has a growing worldwide role as the world’s second-largest economy and the Global Times newspaper, which is close to the ruling Communist Party, said in an editorial Friday: “Protecting the safety of Chinese nationals overseas has become a new challenge for the country”.