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Gunmen screaming 'Allah Akbar' gun down 14 people at Ivory Coast beach resort

by 13/03/2016 20:39:00 0 comments 1 Views
Gunmen screaming 'Allah Akbar' gun down 14 people at Ivory Coast beach resort
Ivory Coast hotel shooting leaves six dead after rifle and grenade assault
Suspected al Qaeda gunmen who stormed a tourist resort in the Ivory Coast shot dead a young child because he did not speak Arabic, an eyewitness has revealed.

At least four men armed with AK47s and hand grenades gunned down 14 people in the historic town of Grand Bassam before they were killed in a shootout with Government troops.

One survivor, Marcel Guy, told of how the shooters approached two children and spoke to them in Arabic. He said one child knelt and prayed and the other one was shot on the spot. 

 

Unconfirmed reports have emerged that several French nationals may have been killed in the deadly attack

Unconfirmed reports have emerged that several French nationals may have been killed in the deadly attack

A soldier comforts an injured boy in Bassam, Ivory Coast, following a suspected terror attack which left at least 12 dead

A soldier comforts an injured boy in Bassam, Ivory Coast, following a suspected terror attack which left at least 12 dead

Ivorian special forces race to the scene of the devastating attack in the town of Grand Bassam

The heavily armed, balaclava clad shooters then opened fired on guests at the L'Etoile du Sud [Southern Star] hotel which was full of expats, another witness said.

Graphic images showed several dead bodies, some of whom are thought to be French tourists, scattered across the beach near the Etoile du Sud. Security forces and members of the Ivorian Red Cross were clearing the bodies.

Jacques Able, the owner of the hotel, said at least one person was killed in his building.

Footage from a different hotel's balcony showed people running from their lives as the shooters tried to gun down other unarmed holidaymakers. 

The country's Government said six armed men have been 'neutralised' following attacks on three different hotels.  

Graphic images showed seven dead bodies scattered across the beach in the resort town of Grand Bassam

Graphic images showed seven dead bodies scattered across the beach in the resort town of Grand Bassam

The country's Government said six armed men have been 'neutralised' following attacks on three different hotels (pictured, boys walk past the body of someone killed in an attack)

The country's Government said six armed men have been 'neutralised' following attacks on three different hotels (pictured, boys walk past the body of someone killed in an attack)

Locals help a badly injured victim on to the back of a backup truck following the sudden terror attack

Locals help a badly injured victim on to the back of a backup truck following the sudden terror attack

Grand Bassam was once the colonial capital of Ivory Coast and remains a popular site for ex-pats relaxing from city life in Abidjan

Grand Bassam was once the colonial capital of Ivory Coast and remains a popular site for ex-pats relaxing from city life in Abidjan

Terror group Al Qaeda in the Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the attack through one of their social media accounts, but this has not been independently verified.

Several French nationals may have been killed in the deadly attack, with witnesses describing how the gunmen arrived on the beach via a boat.

Josiane Sekongo, 25, who lives across from one of the town's many beachfront hotels, described the shocking moment the attack took place.

She ran outside after hearing gun fire and saw people sprinting away from the beach to hide in their homes, moments before the security forces arrived.

'I saw seven dead that I filmed. There were four attackers. I was swimming when it started and I ran away,' said Dramane Kima a local who filmed the bodies on Bassam's shore.

He also took photos of grenades and ammunition thought to have been left behind by the attackers. 

One of the victims from the shocking attack in Bassam, where gunmen opened fire on the beach

One of the victims from the shocking attack in Bassam, where gunmen opened fire on the beach

An AFP journalist saw around a dozen people, including an injured Western woman, being evacuated in a military truck

An AFP journalist saw around a dozen people, including an injured Western woman, being evacuated in a military truck

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said officials were 'urgently' trying to establish whether any British nationals were harmed at the resort, a popular site for expats.

Today's attack was the third time in recent months that a West African tourist hotspot has been besieged by gunmen. 

Dozens were killed during a siege of a Malian hotel in November, followed by an assault on a hotel and cafe in Burkina Faso in January. 

Analysts have warned for months that Ivory Coast, which shares a border with both those countries, could be a potential target by jihadists as well.

'I have always said that Abidjan [Ivory Coast] and Dakar [Senegal] are the next targets for jihadist groups because these two countries represent windows of France in Africa,' said terrorism expert Lemine Ould Salem.

He said the attackers could be from the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram terror group that has killed thousands across Africa over several years. 

The heavily armed, balaclava clad shooters opened fired on guests at the L'Etoile du Sud [Southern Star] hotel (pictured) which was full of expats

The heavily armed, balaclava clad shooters opened fired on guests at the L'Etoile du Sud [Southern Star] hotel (pictured) which was full of expats

Survivors comfort each other near the beach where balaclava clad shooters opened fire on helpless tourists

Survivors comfort each other near the beach where balaclava clad shooters opened fire on helpless tourists

Home to some 80,000 people, Grand-Bassam holds UNESCO World Heritage status thanks to its elegant colonial-era facades. The town has several hotels frequented by expats.

UNESCO describes Grand-Bassam as a late 19th and early 20th century colonial town that 'bears witness to the complex social relations between Europeans and Africans, and to the subsequent independence movement'.

'As a vibrant centre of the territory of French trading posts in the Gulf of Guinea, which preceded modern Cote d'Ivoire, it attracted populations from all parts of Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean Levant,' the UN cultural agency says on its website.

 

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