No fewer than 16 persons were shot dead on Sunday after six gunmen stormed Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand Bassam and opened fired on tourists. Reuters reports that the dead include 14 civilians and two soldiers while the assailants were also killed. The resort is visited by both locals and foreigners. The Ivory Coast President, Alassane Ouattara, confirmed the casualty number during a visit to the scene of the incident. He said, “Six attackers came onto the beach in Bassam this afternoon. We have 14 civilians and two special forces soldiers who were unfortunately killed.” Ouattara added that the six attackers were also killed.
The Interior Minister, Hamed Bakayoko, told BBC that the gunmen had been “neutralised”.
A witness of Sunday’s attack said, “heavily armed men wearing balaclavas” had 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 different directions.
BBC’s Maud Jullien reports that Ivory Coast has been identified as one of several countries in West Africa at risk of being targeted by Islamist militants.
Luxury hotels were targeted by terrorists in Mali in November and Burkina Faso in January.