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Man said to be Cypriot told BBC he was in hotel gym when Mali attack began

French gendarmes prepare forensic supplies in the lobby of the Radisson hotel in Bamako

A Cypriot man working in Bamako, was able to escape the hostage situation on Friday morning when a jihadist group attacked Radisson Blu hotel in the Malian capital, killing at least 27 people.

State broadcaster CyBC, quoting Michael Skapoullis’ phone conversation with the BBC, said that Skapoullis was a Cypriot businessman working in Mali.

Speaking to BBC, Skapoullis, who said he lives close to the Radisson Blu, was working out in the hotel’s gym when the attack began.

“I go to the gym between 6am and 8am every day, usually I see the same people, around six people during the workout. Today there were just me and two other people,” Skapoullis told BBC.

He said that he was a bit worried when the two other people left at around at around 7.30am, “because I know the people at the gym, I see them face to face every day”.

“We had the music on and I didn’t hear any gunshots”, he said, “so I left the gym and tried to go into the lobby through the back door, from the swimming pool side”.

“I opened the door a little bit and I saw bullets on the floor so I closed the door and then I walked wall-to-wall back in the gym again and from the back door of the gym, which is at the side of the hotel I walked outside where it was full of police and special forces and they took me to a safe place and then they walked me home,” he said.

Skapoullis said that he didn’t see anyone else and that he didn’t know what had happened to the two people who left the gym earlier than him.

 

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