BAMAKO, 2 November 2020 – Courts in Mali have started persecution against gunmen accused of killing over 24 foreigners in a spat of violence in luxury hotel and a restaurant in the Malian capital, Bamako.

An attack in November 215 on the Radisson Blu Hotel left 20 people dead.

Earlier in March the same year, one French national, a Belgian citizen and three Malians were killed when gunmen opened fire on La Terrasse Restaurant.

A Mauritanian national, Fawaz Ould Ahmed also known as “Ibrahim 10” is the main accused in the trials.

Court documents consider him a member of the al-Mourabitoun Islamist group and of the Algerian jihadist movement, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, both affiliates of al-Qaeda.

He is accused of taking part in the attack on the restaurant and of planning and carrying  out the murders during the siege on the Radisson Blu Hotel.

The death toll could have easily been worse, given that as many as 170 people were taken hostage during the siege at the hotel.

Malian commandos raided the hotel and freed a majority of the hostages before any harm could come to them.

Two other suspects are also due to face trial for the attacks.

The 2015 attacks were the first to internationally targeted Westerners in Mali.

Court documents have linked the attacks to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Last August, a popular uprising toppled the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in part on account of dissatisfaction with the way he had tackled the eight-year insurgency Mali is fighting with Islamist groups. Protesters also blamed him for surrendering Malian sovereignty to officials from its former colonizer, France.

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