Three China execs among dead as president condemns Mali attack

Reuters

Posted at Nov 21 2015 07:07 PM

BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday condemned the ''cruel and savage'' attack by Islamist militants on a hotel in Mali's capital that killed 19 people, including three Chinese executives of a state-run railway firm.

Gunmen shouting Islamic slogans attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on Friday, before Malian commandos stormed the building and freed 170 hostages.

Xi called on "relevant departments" to strengthen security work "outside of China's borders", the Foreign Ministry cited Xi as saying in a statement on its website.

"China will strengthen cooperation with the international community, resolutely crack down on violent terrorist operations that devastate innocent lives and safeguard world peace and security," Xi said.

The three Chinese people killed were executives with China's state-owned China Railway Construction Corp, the company said in a statement on its website.

"China Railway Construction Corp is deeply saddened by the deaths of the three employees, and we express our deep condolences to the families of the victims and strongly condemn the atrocities committed by the terrorists," it said.

Zhou Tianxiang and Wang Xuanshang, general manager and deputy general manager of the company's international division, and Chang Xuehui, general manager of its West Africa division, were killed, the statement said.

The attack on the hotel was claimed by jihadist group Al Mourabitoun and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and is the latest in a series of deadly raids this year in Mali, which has battled Islamist rebels based in its desert north for years.

China vowed this week to bring to justice those responsible for killing one of its citizens after Islamic State said it had killed a Chinese captive.

Beijing has repeatedly denounced Islamist militants and urged the world to step up coordination in combating Islamic State, though it has been reluctant to get involved on the ground in Syria and Iraq where the group largely operates.

Chinese officials say the country faces a severe threat from Islamist separatists in its western Xinjiang region, where violence has left hundreds dead over the past three years.