Seven Canadians are safe in Mali’s capital after an extremist group laid siege to a luxury hotel, taking some 170 people hostage. The siege at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako Friday morning left more than 20 dead.
Among those affected by the siege were parliamentary staff member, a former Quebec politician and a lawyer.
Patrice Martin, the acting deputy principal clerk in Canada’s House of Commons, was at the Radisson, the Canadian government confirmed Friday. He’s now safe.
Maxime Carrier-Légaré, a former member of Quebec’s National Assembly, and Pierre Boivin, a lawyer in Montreal, were also taken hostage.
A spokesperson for Boivin’s law firm said the firm is “extremely happy to report” he is safe.
“Both his family and friends at McCarthy Tétrault are tremendously relieved,” Hélène Sansoucy said in a statement.
In an email to Global News, the Dept. of Foreign Affairs confirmed all seven Canadians identified as being affected by the Radisson Blu siege are safe but would not provide further details due to privacy concerns.
WATCH ABOVE: Mali attack leaves more than 20 dead
“We are deeply concerned by the attack at the Bamako hotel today,” Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion and Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and la Francaphonie, said in a joint statement released earlier in the day.
“Such indiscriminate acts of violence against innocent civilians are unacceptable and are to be condemned.”
Canada’s former governor general Michaëlle Jean was supposed to stay at the Radisson Blu this weekend, but she had not yet arrived in Mali.
Jean, who’s now secretary-general of the International Organization of the Francophonie, was to attend a the Francophone Forum on Diversity and Cultural Expressions this weekend. She was scheduled to fly into Bamako on Saturday.
“I want to condemn this new attack terrorist terror strategy, these hate attacks against freedom, against the rule of law, against peace, against stability, this scourge and this constant threat that plagues the world,” Jean said in a translated statement about the attack, which occurred one week after the deadly ISIS attacks in Paris and Beirut.
Reports indicate the group responsible was the Mourabitounes — a splinter group of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb led by notorious terror leader Moktar Belmoktar.
A Malian military official initially said there were 10 gunmen but later Friday it wasn’t clear how many assailants took part. It also was not known if the two dead attackers were included in the UN’s count of the dead, which originally put the death toll at 27.
Malian special forces went “floor by floor” to free hostages, army Cmdr. Modibo Nama Traore told The Associated Press.
The Government of Canada urges Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel to Mali due to the threat of terrorism and banditry.
The government specifically warns of threat of terrorism and kidnapping in northern Mali, including the ancient city of Timbuktu, and to areas bordering Mauritania and Ivory Coast.
Canadians who want to check on the safety of family and friends in Bamako can contact the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada by calling 613-996-8885 or toll-free at 1-800-387-3124 or by sending an email email@example.com.
With files from Global News reporter Billy Shields and The Associated Press