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Ivory Coast, 15 civilians and 3 soldiers killed in terrorist attack

Militants opened fire on tourists at the Grand Bassam resort in southern Ivory Coast on the 13th of March. The attack, claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, left 18 dead.

The sunny and tourist-filled beaches of southern Ivory Coast turned into a setting of atrocity and death on the 13th of March. Militants dressed in black and wearing balaclavas opened fire on beachgoers, killing 18 people before being stopped and killed by security forces. Among the victims were 3 members of the special forces and 15 civilians – men, women and children who were on the beach. Four of the victims were Westerners, including one French and one German, the BBC reports.

The terrorist attack, claimed by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was carried out at the Grand Bassam resort, located about 40 kilometres from Abidjan, the country’s commercial capital. The massacre follows two recent attacks perpetrated by the same group targeting tourist locations in the region: one in Mali in November 2015 and another in Burkina Faso in January this year, in which 49 people were killed.

 

Previously untouched by violence related to Islamist terrorist groups, Ivory Coast is considered increasingly at risk since the attacks in neighbouring countries took place. The aggression, which took place near the L’Etoile du Sud hotel, confirms just how far AQIM reaches: from its origins in Algeria its influence has spread across the Sahel and southern Sahara.

 

 

There is an urgent need to tackle this threat and for regional governments to “step up their act in policing, as well gathering intelligence and acting on it individually and collectively,” Tomi Oladipo, BBC Africa security correspondent commented. However, there is a general lack of long-term and wide-reaching strategies aimed at effectively eliminating the threat of Islamist terrorist groups and avoiding human losses globally.

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