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Special Reports

Mali's president doubts al-Mourabitoun role in attack

Mali's president has questioned claims that al-Mourabitoun, an al-Qaeda-linked group, was responsible for last week's assault on a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako.

In his first interview since Friday's attack that left 27 people dead, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita told Al Jazeera that despite early speculation, his intelligence service suggested that another group, the Macina Liberation Front, was responsible for it.

"Initially it was said that this was the work of al-Mourabitoun but tonight all indications are it is the Macina Liberation Front who are behind this," he said.

"They're acting as if Macina was a country or territory that needed to be liberated. At this precise moment I have no more details."

The November 20 assault on the Radisson Blu hotel was the latest in a series of deadly raids this year on prominent targets in Mali, which has battled various armed groups based in its desert north for years. On Monday, Mali began a three-day mourning period with flags flying at half-staff.

Members claiming to be part of al-Mourabitoun quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it carried it out "in coordination with Imarat al-Sahra group and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM]".

While the attack was under way on Friday, Al Jazeera gained access to a recording in which assailants claiming to be part of al-Mourabitoun said they would only release the hostages it had taken when its members were freed from Bamako's prisons, and when what they called "aggression against the people of northern Mali" was stopped.

Click here to read the AlJazeera report.

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