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The despicable attack on civilians at the Radisson hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako by members of the armed group Al Mourabitoun demonstrates again the total disregard for civilians that is characterising the growing violence and unrest in the country, Amnesty International said today.

At least 27 people were found dead in the hotel after Mali’s military stormed it, trying to end a hostage crisis in which dozens of hotel staff and guests were being held by the group’s gunmen. Reports were still coming in at the time of writing.

“The armed group Al Mourabitoun which has claimed responsibility for the hotel siege has shown an utter and total contempt for human life. This group must immediately cease deliberately attacking civilians, including humanitarian workers,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s Africa Director for West and Central Africa.

In March the group, which has links to Al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for another attack on a bar in the capital killing five people with a machine-gun and a grenade. A masked gunman opened fire at La Terrasse, killing three Malians, a French national and a Belgian security official working for the EU.

“It is alarming that the violence wreaked by this armed group is once again hitting the capital. These ongoing attacks and violence by other armed groups have created a climate of fear over much of the country causing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes seeking safety.”