Malian security forces have stormed a hotel in the central town of Sevare, ending a deadly siege and freeing several hostages. A spokesman for the Malian forces said four bodies were found inside the Byblos Hotel after the early raid. At least one UN worker and several suspected Islamist militants are thought to have died in the siege but the exact number is unclear.
Mali has been fighting Islamist rebels in the north for a number of years. Two South Africans, one Ukrainian and one Russian national were said to have been freed after being trapped inside the hotel, which is popular with UN workers in the town, since Friday morning. The UN peacekeeping force in Mali (Minusma) said it believed a member of its international personnel was killed in the attack but gave no further details.
A total of at least 13 people are thought to have died since gunmen swept through Sevare on Friday morning on motorbikes, attacking an air force base before taking over the hotel.