Survivors of Mali Attack Speaks Out

Last Friday morning, in Bamako, Mali, gunmen busted into the lobby of a prominent hotel and began opening fire at just about anyone and everything. The gunmen were labeled as Islamic militants as they were heard shouting the term “Allahu Akbar” as they ventured through the lobby and fanned throughout the hotel. No other words were heard coming from the gunmen.

By the time UN and Malian security forces were able to intervene, at least 20 people had been killed and many more injured. Two of the attackers were also killed, but it is at this point unclear whether they were shot by intervening forces or were the victims of self-detonated explosions.

Terrifying Stories of Survival

Though the attacks in Mali claimed the lives of multiple people, there were also many survival stories too. According to CNN, Michael Skapoullis was using the hotel’s workout room when he noticed other patrons begin making their way to the door. Though he was listening to music at the time, he decided to follow everyone else. Upon opening the gym door to a hallway, Skapoullis saw bullets on the ground and subsequently closed the door and snuck out of the hotel via a side door.

A women who works for the Center for Disease Control, Kathie Fazekas, was on her way to check out of the hotel when the attack began. Fearing for her life amid the sound of gunfire Fazekas barricaded herself into a room and composed a few emails to her husband, telling him that she loves him despite whether she makes it out alive or not. Fortunately, Fazekas was one of those that managed to survive the attack physically unscathed.

There were reportedly about 170 total people at the hotel at the time of the attack, so the 20 or so deaths is a somewhat low tally, especially considering how long it took first responders to arrive on scene. Mali, as a country, has been battling Islamic extremist groups and has been in the midst of peace talks, some of which were happening at the very same hotel that was attacked. As is the case almost every time an unforeseen attack unfolds, there were plenty of remarkable stories of quick-thinking which inevitably led to the survival of more than 100 patrons.