Suspected terrorists belonging to Al Qaeda killed 16 people including 4 Europeans in the town of Grand Bassam. The attackers, armed with AK47 assault rifles and hand grenades were later gunned down by troops.
One of the survivors who had witnessed the Grand Bassam beach resort shooting told that the terrorists killed a child in cold blood in spite of the fact that he was kneeling and begging before them. They also shot a woman in her chest.
Another eye witness recalled that one of the attackers with a long beard talked to two children in Arabic. He let one of them go who recited an Islamic prayer. The Christian boy was killed.
Out of sixteen people who were killed in the Ivory Coast hotel shooting, only two were soldiers. The rest of the victims were civilians. Alassane Ouattara, the president of Ivory Coast said that six attackers had been gunned down by soldiers. He added that the security forces had acted immediately otherwise the death toll could have climbed higher.
The attackers were wearing balaclavas. They yelled and started shooting on guests at the ‘Southern Star’ hotel which was full of people at the time.
Pictures taken at the scene of the attack showed many dead bodies scattered on the beach near the hotel. Some of the dead are thought to be tourists from France. Members of the Red Cross and security forces personnel were seen dragging the bodies of the unfortunate people from the sand. A footage shot from another hotel showed several people running in fear as the attackers opened fire on un armed holidaymakers.
An official government statement said that six armed gunmen had been killed after they had attacked three hotels. The responsibility of the attacks was claimed by Al Qaeda in the Maghreb. The claim was made through a social media website. There has been no independent verification of this claim.
Witnesses said that the attackers had arrived at the scene in a boat.
Fox news reported that the terrorists were targeting an American delegation which is led by Marcus Jadotte, the US assistant secretary of commerce, however, the American embassy in Abidjan said that it had been monitoring the situation and had found no evidence that American citizens were specifically targeted. There were no American victims in the attack.
This is the third time a in the past few months that a famous tourist destination in West Africa has been targeted by armed men. Grand Bassam is a town that is frequently visited by foreign tourists owing to its elegant colonial facades and several modern hotels.