Several people have been reported dead after a shooting attack at a restaurant in Mali's capital Bamako. The victims are from Mali, Belgium and France. Paris said the attack appeared to be a terrorist incident.
The shooting occurred early Saturday at a restaurant and nightclub in Bamako, which is reported to be popular with expatriates.
"This is a terrorist attack, although we're waiting for clarification. Provisionally, there are four dead - one French national, a Belgian and two Malians," a police officer told a correspondent from French news agency AFP.
Another European was reported to have died on arrival at the Gabriel Toure hospital, while eight people were wounded, according to AFP.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed a French citizen was among the victims.
"I condemn this odious and cowardly act that has caused the death of several people, among them a French citizen," Fabius said in a statement, adding that the attack strengthened France's resolve to "fight terrorism in all its forms."
French President Francois Hollande issued a statement in which he denounced "with the greatest force the cowardly attack."
According to the statement, Hollande would meet Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to offer Paris's help to the former French colony, while security at the French embassy and other French installations had been increased.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders also condemned the attack, saying he believed the dead included a Belgian national.
"My thoughts are with the victims and their families," he said on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Peace negotiations at crucial stage
While the vast desert of northern Mali has long been struggling with instability due to ethnic rivalries, a separatist movement and an Islamist insurgency, day to day life in the capital remained largely unaffected.
Militants linked to al Qaeda controlled a large part of northern Mali for more than nine months, until a French-led military intervention drove most of them out in January 2013.
Peace negotiations between Mali's government and armed rebel groups reached a crucial stage this month.
se/rc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)