Gunmen have stormed a tourist resort in Mali popular with Westerners and two people are dead, the country's security minister has said.
While no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, jihadist groups related to Al-Qaeda have been responsible for several attacks in the past.
The aim was to bear a message to "crusaders" that they will never be safe in the country, SITE quoted the group as saying.
Traore who called the attack a terrorist act, said that 36 guests were rescued.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has confirmed that two members of EU's military training mission have been killed in Mali.
Two others had been wounded, one civilian and a policeman, Baba Cisse, spokesman for the security ministry, told the Reuters news agency. Local residents reported hearing shots fired while smoke billowed into the air.
"Shouting "Allahu akbar", the attackers fired several bursts of bullets".
"We're now in the process of combing the area to verify no one is hiding anywhere", Traore said.
An anti-terrorist unit was sent to the site and exchanged fire with the attackers.
The country's security has gradually worsened since 2013, when French forces repelled allied Islamist and Tuareg rebel fighters from parts of the north.
"They're specialized in this kind of operation", he said.
The area remained cordoned off on Monday. It's a resort popular with westerners. The warning advised expatriates to avoid places with poor security, including hotels, restaurants and churches. Two jihadists also died in the attack. The one victim that was killed had French-Gabon nationality, the other came from Angola, according to the Volkskrant.
France is pressing the UN Security Council to quickly adopt a resolution to fund and support a new African anti-jihadist force in the Sahel, comprising troops from Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. At the beginning of 2013, an worldwide military intervention led by the French army succeeded in chasing most rebels from the region.
A source in the United Nations mission for stabilization in Mali notes that among tourists may be dead and injured, in addition, it does not exclude the taking of hostages by criminals. A devastating attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako later that year left 20 dead - six Malians and 14 foreigners.