A luxury resort popular with foreigners outside Mali's capital Bamako came under attack by gunmen on Sunday and was ongoing, the Security Ministry said.
Gunmen stormed Le Campement Kangaba in Dougourakoro, to the east of the capital Bamako, a resort foreign residents often visit for weekend breaks.
According to FRANCE 24's correspondent Anthony Fouchard in Bamako, the campground is on fire and people are being evacuated one by one by Malian and European troops as well as UN peacekeeping forces. Fouchard said at least two foreigners and one member of the Malian army have been killed in the attack, adding that heavy gunfire could still be heard from the compound. A security ministry spokesman said one of the dead was French-Gabonese.
"Security forces are in place. Campement Kangaba is blocked off and an operation is underway," Security Ministry spokesman Baba Cisse told Reuters. French soldiers are supporting the Malian army in the operation.
"The situation is under control." According to AFP, the minister also said "suspected jihadists" were behind the attack.
The ministry said around 20 people who had been held hostage had been released.
Security has gradually worsened in Mali since French forces pushed back allied Islamist and Tuareg rebel fighters in 2013 from swathes of the north they had occupied the previous year.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and another militant group claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel in Mali's capital in late 2015, in which 20 people were killed.
French troops and a 10,000-strong UN peacekeeping force have battled to stabilise the former French colony and strikes on Malian and Western targets have spread further south and far beyond traditional militant strongholds.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)