A spokesperson for Mali’s security ministry, Baba Cisse, said that two civilians, a Franco-Gabonese woman and a Cameroonian, had been killed in the attack.
A Portuguese soldier working with the European Union military training mission and a Malian soldier were also killed, officials said.
“This was without doubt a terrorist attack,” security minister Salif Traore told Radio France International on Monday, adding that “at least four” attackers had been killed and five terror suspects arrested in operations that continued throughout the night.
Security forces backed by French and UN troops mobilised quickly when the attack on the eco-lodge Campement Kangaba was underway Sunday afternoon, and managed to rescue 36 hostages, including 13 French citizens and 14 Malians.
“The gunmen wanted to kill white people,” Sory Ibrahim, a journalist who witnessed the attack, told Radio France International.
Boubacar Konta, a hotel employee, told the radio that the jihadists were holding their guns and shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
The lodge was still cordoned off by late morning on Monday as anti-terrorist officials searched the area for the missing guest, a witness told Reuters.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, although Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other Islamist groups have claimed attacks on Western targets in Mali and other West African countries, including Ivory Coast, in the past.
French President Emmanuel Macron pledged France’s “full support” for Mali, Mr Macron’s office said on Monday.
A second French citizen was killed in a terrorist attack over the weekend. Julie Huynh, 23, was killed after an explosive device detonated in a restroom in a busy shopping centre in Colombia’s capital Bogota on Saturday.
Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa told reporters that Mrs Huynh had been volunteering in a poor area of the city. Her mother, Nathalie Huynh, 48, was with her in the restroom and was injured in the attack.
The counter-terrorism unit of the Paris prosecutor’s office has since opened an investigation into the bombing, French officials said.
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