Terrorists kill 16 in Ivory Coast attack

Al-Qaeda-linked militants yesterday killed no fewer than 14 civilians and two soldiers in a gun attack on a beach resort in south-eastern Ivory Coast.

The attackers fired on beach-goers in Grand Bassam, about 40km (25 miles) from the commercial capital Abidjan.

The resort is popular with both locals and foreigners. One of the dead was French, France’s foreign ministry says.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed the attack. The gunmen have been “neutralised”, officials say.

Ivory Coast was once one of the most stable countries in West Africa.

However, a civil war broke out in 2002, pitting the mainly Muslim north against the largely Christian south. Since then, peace deals have alternated with renewed violence.

A witness of Sunday’s attack told AFP that “heavily armed men wearing balaclavas” opened fire near the L’Etoile du Sud hotel, which was full of expats.

Another eyewitness, Souleymane Kamagate, said he saw people running from the beach and fleeing in all directions.

French President Francois Hollande condemned the “cowardly attack”. There is no word so far on the nationalities of other victims.

BBC regional reporter Maud Jullien says Ivory Coast has been identified as one of several countries in West Africa at risk of being targeted by Islamist militants.

AQIM claimed deadly attacks on luxury hotels in Mali in November and Burkina Faso in January.

The group, which has its origin in Algeria’s civil war of the 1990s, has expanded across the Sahel regions south of the Sahara in recent years.

Culled from: http://thenationonlineng.net/terrorists-kill-16-ivory-coast-attack/

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