Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday he wanted global cooperation to combat terrorism in the wake of an Islamist militant attack on a luxury hotel in Mali that killed 19 people, including six Russians. Friday’s assault came a week after militants killed 130 people in bomb and gun attacks in Paris and three weeks after a Russian airliner was downed over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula by what Moscow and Western governments say was a bomb, killing 224 all people aboard. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility in both cases.
The bloodshed at the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali, a former French colony, evoked the problems French troops and United Nations peacekeepers face in restoring security and order in a West African state that has battled rebels and militants in its weakly governed desert north for years.
Jihadi groups Al Mourabitoun and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack, which ended when Malian commandos stormed the building and rescued 170 people, many of them foreigners.
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said two militants were killed in the commando operation. His government increased security at strategic points around Bamako at the start of a declared 10-day state of emergency. “Mali will not shut down because of this attack. Paris and New York were not shut down, and Mali won’t be. Terrorism will not win,” Keita said during a visit to the hotel Saturday.