- Al Qaeda gunmen attack Grand Bassam resort
- 16 people are killed including four Europeans
- All six gunmen are killed by Ivorian Special Forces
Gunmen from the North African branch of al Qaeda killed 16 people at a popular resort town in Ivory Coast on Sunday.
Six attackers fired on beach goers in Grand Bassam before being killed themselves in clashes with Ivorian special forces.
The Ivorian President, Alassane Ouattara, traveled to the resort on Sunday evening. Speaking to reporters he confirmed that 14 civilians and two soldiers had died in the attack . He also added that all the gunmen had been “neutralized”.
“These cowardly terrorist attacks will not be tolerated in the Ivory Coast, and we have taken important measures. These attacks were brought under control in three or four hours thanks to our security and defence forces, whom I want to congratulate,” he said.
Four Europeans were among those killed including one confirmed Frenchman. It’s the latest in a string of deadly assaults across West Africa, the most recent being nearly two months ago when Islamist fighters killed dozens of people in a hotel and cafe frequented by tourists in neighbouring Burkina Faso. Gunmen also attacked a hotel in the Malian capital, Bamako late last year.
Though previously untouched by Islamist violence, Ivory Coast, French-speaking West Africa’s largest economy and the world’s top cocoa producer, has been considered a target for militants. It has been on high alert since the Burkina Faso attack.