A Malian police officer stands guard as municipal workers clean ouside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako two days after the deadly attack. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images (Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)

Church bells pealed and wedding music blared across this West African capital Sunday, as Malians dressed in their vivid holiday best defied the threat of terror and skirted a state of emergency to celebrate the rituals of life.

After visiting the luxury hotel where two gunmen shot and killed 19 people after taking about 130 hostage Friday, Senegal’s president Macky Sall said at a news conference Sunday that a meeting of a West African regional organization would be held soon to discuss regional security concerns.

A coalition of separatist groups in northern Mali claimed that the attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel had been aimed at sabotaging peace talks they are holding with the Malian government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. A critical peace meeting was scheduled to be held at the hotel soon. The group’s leader said jihadist groups are trying to destroy the country.

The attack has been claimed by al-Mourabitoun, a violent jihadist group affiliated with al-Qaeda that seeks to drive Western influence from Mali and has been responsible for a number of other deadly assaults in the past several years. But experts said the gunmen, who also died, could be linked to other extremist Islamist groups in the region, a confusing array of shifting leaders and allegiances.

The social and religious outings held across the capital Sunday were congenial but not fully carefree, and the hotel siege was still on everyone’s mind. Some foreign church-goers were accompanied by bodyguards, and male wedding guests sat and watched with extra attentiveness as their wives and daughters danced in outdoor tents.

But despite the jolting reminder Friday that Mali and its capital remain vulnerable to a variety of violent groups — and the announcements Saturday of a 10-day reduction of civil liberties and three days of national mourning — thousands of people decided not to let grief or anxiety ruin their plans.

From mid-morning on, people streamed into churches to sing and pray, then mingled in the shade afterward to chat. Many women were clad in brilliant patterned gowns and turbans; some men sported loose tunics called fokia, printed with colorful drawings of Jesus and Mary or with phrases from the Bible.

In interviews, some worshipers confined themselves to cautious platitudes about the future being in God’s hands. But others offered concerned comments about Islamist violence, which has spread from the country’s arid north, threatening the social peace that both minority Christians and majority Muslims have long known in the more developed south.

“It’s true that we Christians are especially exposed, but so are moderate Muslims,” said Edmund, 60, a retired airline worker wearing a tunic with “Glory, hallelujah” written across it. He asked that his last name not be used. “These terrorists do not speak for God. It is easy for them to indoctrinate young people in our precarious societies, with so much poverty and lack of work, but it is a perversion to promise them a better world through force.”

After the morning Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral, a teacher who gave his name as Eulange, 40, said that “to go to church is an act of resistance” against terrorism. And piety, he argued, offers a stronger defense than the liberal values and behavior that were the targets of the jihadist gunmen who struck Paris. “We have to be careful what we teach and what we do,” he said. “We can only fight this threat with our faith.”

In other parts of the capital, caravans of wedding-goers wound through the streets en route to community gatherings under large tents. As people crammed inside, amplified live music from drums and electric gourd guitars echoed through the nearby streets, testing a ban on loud public events that was included in the 10-day state of emergency imposed Saturday.

Some of the celebrations went on for hours, with women in elaborate party costumes singing and dancing traditional welcomes to the groom while the bride was hidden nearby, being attended by friends. At one wedding, an uncle of the bride, dressed in a ceremonial white cap and robe, watched the festivities with a satisfied smile and a close eye on the street.

“We are all troubled by this attack, and we know people are dead, but we must still celebrate the living,” said the uncle, a 56-year-old office administrator named Sidib Boubacar. “We are a little limited by the current circumstances,” he added, referring to the new security restrictions, “but if we stop what we are doing, it will show we are afraid.”