Security forces in Mali have killed 5 militants involved in an attack at the weekend on a luxury resort popular with Western expatriates outside Mali’s capital Bamako.

Authorities said 2 people were killed in the attack that occurred on Sunday.

“This was without doubt a terrorist attack,” Security Minister Salif Traore told Radio France International.

“The anti-terrorist forces arrived on the scene immediately afterwards. Five terrorists were killed … The operations continued throughout the night.”

Traore believes the militants had some accomplices who had not been killed or detained. On Sunday night, authorities reported that two of the assailants had been killed.

He called the attack a terrorist act and said that 36 guests were rescued.

Explaining how the attack occurred, the security minister said 4 gunmen arrived on motorbikes and a car at the Le Campement Kangaba, near Dougourakoro, to the east of the capital Bamako, a resort that foreign residents visit for weekend breaks.

After their presence was reported to security personnel, Malian security forces backed by French troops deployed to push them out.

Traore said: “At first we thought they were armed bandits but we know how armed bandits operate, they don’t hold territory, so now we think it is a terrorist attack”.

According to a Reuters news agency, Malian security forces, UN peacekeeping mission vehicles and French military armoured vehicles surrounded the resort while a helicopter circled overhead.

In a later news conference, Traore said Malian forces fatally shot two of the attackers but the other two escaped and were being pursued.