#MALIATTACKS: Two suspects have been arrested

Mali authorities have arrested two people linked to the attack on Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, the security ministry said. “There are two suspects arrested,” said Amadou Sangho, a spokesman for the ministry, without naming them. It was reported that the suspects were brought in for interrogation after a lead was discovered in one of the attacker’s mobile phones.

Last week Friday, gunmen took about 170 people hostage in the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali. At least 20 people, including one American, were killed along with two gunmen during the more than seven-hour siege. However this ended when Malian commandos stormed the hotel and freed 170 hostages. Two attackers were killed.

Security analysts say three islamist militant groups-al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI), al Mourabitoun and Massina Liberation Front (MLF) could be collaborating.  There have also been indications that terror group Ansar Dine are responsible for these attacks. Ansar Dine is a militant group in Mali that is reported to have close ties with al-Qaeda. It was primarily responsible for the Northern Malian conflict of 2012 and 2013. This attack could also indicate a battle for prominent public position between Ansar Dine and the Islamic State, to capture attention and  popularity as competition for notoriety and the recruits that come with it heats up between Islamic terror franchise.

While Mali has certainly had its own problem with terrorists operating in its northern region, the attack raised the question of possible coordinated strikes on allies of the west which present softer targets because of less extensive security and surveillance abilities.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Libya are all examples of countries attacked by terror organizations because of their relationships with western countries. Other francophone countries within Africa that have close ties with France may also be hit soon. The U.S. embassy in Bamako has hinted the possibility of “further terrorist activity in the capital,”  warning that its citizens avoid public places like shopping centres, bars and restaurants.

French armed forces and a 10,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force (MINUSMA) are making all efforts to restore peace and stability to the former French colony as strikes on both Malian and Western targets continue to spread. On Thursday, Christophe Monbelli-Valloir, deputy police commissioner for MINUSMA, stated that a team from the FBI were deployed to help the Malian-led investigation.

In January 2013, the French soldiers succeeded in recapturing seized towns in Mali and driving terrorists into hiding. French troops have remained in the West African country since, on a mission to stabilize the region.

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