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Two Ukrainian UN Workers Among Killed In Mali Hostage Drama

The United Nations says two UN contractors from Ukraine were among 12 people killed when suspected Islamic militants seized a hotel used by the staff of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Also killed were a South African pilot, a Napalese man, and a Malian driver who all were contracted by the UN mission -- as well as at least three militants and several Malian soldiers.

Security forces in the West African country stormed the Byblos Hotel in the town of Sevare early on August 8 -- freeing other UN contractors and hostages who were trapped inside during a siege that lasted nearly 24 hours.

The four freed UN contactors included a Russian, a Ukrainian, and two from South Africa.

Malian officials say the Russian man had hidden inside the hotel from the militants during the entire siege and provided useful information to security forces.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said a total of four Ukrainian citizens had been taken hostage at the hotel and at least one was killed.

Mali’s government said seven suspects also were arrested in connection with the militant attack, which was launched in the early morning hours of August 7.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

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