Gunmen have taken 170 people hostage inside the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, with at least three deaths reported.
The hotel chain said two armed men have locked in 140 guests and 30 employees.
The men came in a diplomatic vehicle Friday morning, firing as they entered the hotel, said witness Amadou Keita, who works at a cultural center close by.
The gunshots went on for several long minutes, he said.
Two Malian nationals and a French national have died, a U.N. official said without elaborating.
Malian soldiers with help from U.N. troops have the hotel surrounded. They were able to free a few hostages, a journalist for ORTM, the state television, told CNN from the scene.
Among them were thee U.N. staff members, a source told CNN. It’s unknown how many other staffers remain inside.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the incident.