Obama condemns 'appalling' Mali attack

US President Barack Obama speaking at the Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 21.
US President Barack Obama speaking at the Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 21. PHOTO: REUTERS

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) - US President Barack Obama on Saturday (Nov 21) condemned what he called the "appalling" militant attack in Mali that left at least 27 people dead, including an American citizen.

"This barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge," he said during a visit to Malaysia, referring to the global threat of extremist violence.

Gun-toting jihadists took more than 100 people hostage for around nine hours at a top hotel in Mali's capital Bamako on Friday.

The assault was claimed by the Al-Murabitoun group, an Al Qaeda affiliate led by notorious one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

 

The incident added to fears over the global militant threat a week after the devastating Paris attacks that killed 130 people and were claimed by the ISIS group.

Special forces staged a dramatic floor-by-floor assault to end the siege after about nine hours.

Malian security sources said at least 27 hostages had been killed.

A senior US State Department official confirmed a US citizen was among the victims with another dozen Americans surviving the attack.