A 24 hour siege at a hotel in the center of Mali has ended leaving at least twelve people dead.
“The death toll has increased to 12 dead — five soldiers, four terrorists and three hostages,” a government spokesman said.
The violence started on Friday with a raid on a military site in the town of Sevare, around 600 kilometers (400 miles) north-east of the capital Bamako.
The suspected Islamist militants then stormed the Byblos Hotel on Friday, killing five Malian soldiers and seizing a number of hostages.
The attack happened south of the stronghold of Islamist militant groups, highlighting the threat the group poses as they appear to be stepping up their campaign against the United Nations and Malian troops.
MINUSMA, the country’s UN peacekeeping operation, said four of their employees were among the dead in the hotel.
MINUSMA also confirmed two Ukrainians, a Nepalese and a South African were killed as well as a Malian driver working for a company contracted by the mission.
In 2013 French forces led a military operation to drive Islamist fighters out of the cities and towns that they had seized earlier that year.
Even though the UN managed to secure a tenuous peace deal between the Tuareg rebels and the Malian government, Islamist fighters who were left out of the negotiations have mounted a resurgence.