An extremist group led by a former Al-Qaida Commander is claiming responsibility for a deadly siege at a luxury hotel in Mali. Mali is a former French Colony, and many in France see this latest violence as a new assault on their country’s interests. One week after the deadly attacks in Paris. The UN says 27 people were killed and two Jihadis died after militants armed with guns and grenades stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital of Bamako, Friday morning. Roughly 140 guests and 30 employees were taken hostage. Mali is a land-locked country in West Africa with a population just shy of 17 million. French is the official language. There’s a Canadian Embassy in Bamako. It’s about a 20 minute drive from the site of Friday’s hostage taking.Canada has economic connections with Mali. Canadian companies have made significant investments in the country’s mining sector. And that investment is essential, because Mali depends on gold mining for revenue. And right now, it’s considered to be among the 25 poorest countries in the world. Two Canadian were in the Radisson Blu Hotel when the attacks took place Friday morning. One is a clerk for the House of Commons, the other an employee of Quebec’s National Assembly. Both were in Bamako for a meeting of Francophone Parliamentarians and both are safe.They were two of at least 170 people inside the hotel, many of them foreigners. Reports say at least 27 people are dead. A government official says no more hostages are being held, but a UN official says UN peacekeepers on the scene had seen 27 bodies in a preliminary count, and that a search of the hotel was continuing.