Palace: No Pinoys in Mali hostage crisis

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Malacañang on Saturday said there were no Filipinos among the victims of militants who attacked the Radisson Blu luxury hotel in Bamako, Mali.

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“We have yet to receive a report from the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) on it,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

“Just the same, we will ask them to keep tabs, kasi normally ‘pag nagkakaroon ng ganyan ang concern po talaga natin is kung mayroon pong Pilipinong nasasangkot o nadamay,” she added.

Mali on Saturday began three days of national mourning and declared a state of emergency after a nine-hour siege by jihadist gunmen at a top hotel in the capital left 21 people dead.

The assault, claimed by Al-Qaeda affiliate the Al-Murabitoun group led by notorious one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, ended after Malian and international troops stormed the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako.

The attack came as fears mount over terrorist threats a week after devastating attacks in Paris that killed 130 people claimed by the Islamic State group, which also said it had downed a Russian passenger jet in Egypt weeks before.

The Malian government declared a 10-day nationwide state of emergency from midnight on Friday over the assault and called three days of mourning for the victims, who included several Russians, three Chinese, an American and a Belgian.

“Terror will not win” and “long live Mali, terrorism shall not pass,” President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said in a televised address, revising an earlier death toll to 21.

US President Barack Obama condemned the “appalling” attack, adding that “this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge” of extremist violence.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also condemned Friday’s “horrific terrorist attack,” suggesting the violence was aimed at destroying peace efforts in the country.

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