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Hostages freed after attack on Mali hotel; MN-based Carlson sets up contact line

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Dozens of hostages are no longer trapped after an attack on a West African hotel.

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The Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, was attacked Friday around 7 a.m. their time (roughly 1 a.m. CST), according to a report from AFP.

The Guardian reports about 10 armed gunmen entered the hotel in Mali's capital and took dozens of hostages – the exact number isn't clear, with reports coming in as high as 170 at one time.

The BBC is among those reporting the Mali minister says the gunmen are no longer holding hostages in the hotel as of about 9 a.m. CST.

Earlier it was reported three people have been killed, though a tweet from Agence France-Presse says 18 bodies have now been recovered.

U.S., French, and Malian special forces responded, the BBC reports.

Hotel owned by MN-based Carlson

The hotel is a Radisson Blu, and is operated by the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group (based in Belgium) – that group is part of the Carlson company, the Minnetonka-based business that owns Radisson, Park Inn, Country Inn and Suites, and more.

According to an overnight statement, Carlson and the Rezidor group said 125 guests and 13 employees were still in the building as of 6:45 a.m. Central.

CNN reports officials say the hotel had 140 guests and 30 employees, but not all may have been in the building at the time of the attack.

According to the BBC, Turkish, French, Indian, Chinese and Guinean citizens were staying at the hotel at the time.

ABC News from Australia reports six Americans were among those rescued, with the U.S. State Department saying it's aware U.S. citizens may be at the hotel but doesn't have any additional information at this time.

"Our highest concern is the safety of all our guests and employees in the hotel," the Rezidor statement reads. The company is closely monitoring the situation, and its teams are in "constant contact" with local authorities, according to the release.

There's a dedicated phone line for families of guests and employees, which can be reached at the international number + 33170837437.

The Rezidor CEO, Wolfgang M. Neumann, also issued a personal statement expressing "deep personal concern for all of the guests and employees affected by the terrible events."

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