Malian community in DC reacts to deadly hotel siege

Malians who now reside in DC react to the tragedy that occurred in their home country on Friday.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The Malian community in Washington is small, but very close knit. Many of them still have family in the country and now, after Friday's deadly hotel hostage situation, they're even more worried about their safety.

At the Embassy of Mali on R Street NW in the District, the heartbreak over the Bamako massacre was almost too much to bear. 

"Nobody's safe in my country right now. I feel so sorry. It's too much," Adam Ouattara, a Malian said.

RELATED: At least 27 killed in Mali hotel siege; 2 gunmen dead  

Many people from Mali and now living in D.C. say their country is peaceful and known for its warm hospitality. They say the Raddison hotel where the attack unraveled is new and caters to Western tourists.

It's really sad to see that they just target foreigners and kill innocent people and it's not acceptable," Sidiki Traore, a Malian said. 

In June, Mali's government signed a peace agreement with the rebels there, giving many a sense of hope that calm had triumphed over violence.

I'm at a loss. This is affecting my family, my friends, my aunts and uncles. My sister worked relatively close to the place where this incident happened. I'm just totally astonished and shocked," John Thiero, a Malian said. 

Late Friday afternoon, Mali's Ambassador shared his thoughts.

"What the terrorists want is to create insecurity in Bamako, in Mali and well, all over the world," Tiena Coulibaly, Mali Ambassador to the U.S., said. "The will to fight terror is very, very, very strong in Mali." 

The Ambassador told WUSA9 he's been receiving calls of support from all over the world. He says in a poor country like Mali, when there's insecurity over terrorism, there is a steep decline in investment. Without investment, you have misery. And that misery begets violence.

The President of France has pledged to offer any support he can to the former French colony.  He already dispatched to Mali an elite paramilitary group trained in hostage rescue and counterterrorism operations. 

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