PIME missionary: Abidjan attack work of foreign fundamentalists
About 13 militants landed from the sea fired opening fire on people gathered on the beach and hotels. Tourism, a major source of the economy, targeted. Al Qaeda claims responsibility. Attack similar to those in Tunisia, Mali and Burkina Faso. Dead include Lebanese, French and German national.
Abidjan (AsiaNews) - "The Ivory Coast is not a country that inculcates fear; fundamentalism is not a problem here. Whoever carried out this massacre comes from outside and deliberately targeted an important source of the economy: tourism", says Fr. Davide Carraro. The PIME missionary based in Ivory Coast expresses his grief and shock at the attack yesterday in Grand-Bassam, a beach resort around 40 km from the capital.
Eyewitnesses speak of about 13 militants, armed to the teeth and wearing balaclavas, who arrived aboard boats and opened fire indiscriminately on those present who were taking in the sun or were in the restaurant or bar at Etoile du Sud and two other hotels.
One witness said that one of the assailants shouted several times "Allah akbar (God is great)" in Arabic. Others, still shaken, say that the attackers demanded those present shout "Allah akbar" Anyone who did not was killed instantly. According to the interior ministry, the dead were Ivorians and foreigners, including Lebanese, a French and German national.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a branch of the fundamentalist terrorist organization, claimed responsibility for the attack and said three of its fighters were killed. The Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, who went to the site of the attack, said the attackers were slain.
This attack represents something new in the Ivory Coast. The mechanics of the attack is similar to the attacks in Tunisia, Mali and Burkina Faso. Last June, a young man opened fire on tourists in Sousse, killing 37. In November, a commando attacked a hotel in Bamako, leaving 20 dead; in January, gunmen killed 30 people in Ouagadougou. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed the last two attacks.