Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News World

Civilians killed in terror rampage at Ivory Coast tourist hotspot

Published 14/03/2016

Residents gather on the beach on March 14 , 2016 in Grand Bassam a day after heavily armed gunmen opened fire at a hotel in the Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand-Bassam.
Gunmen killed 16 people at an Ivory Coast resort on March 13 leaving bodies strewn on the beach, in an attack claimed by an Al-Qaeda affiliate as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. Armed with grenades and assault riffles, the attackers stormed three hotels in the sleepy resort of Grand-Bassam, popular with expats, around 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of the commercial hub Abidjan. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
Residents gather on the beach on March 14 , 2016 in Grand Bassam a day after heavily armed gunmen opened fire at a hotel in the Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand-Bassam. Gunmen killed 16 people at an Ivory Coast resort on March 13 leaving bodies strewn on the beach, in an attack claimed by an Al-Qaeda affiliate as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. Armed with grenades and assault riffles, the attackers stormed three hotels in the sleepy resort of Grand-Bassam, popular with expats, around 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of the commercial hub Abidjan. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
Residents look at items left on the beach on March 14 , 2016 in Grand Bassam, some 40 kms east of Abidjan, a day after gunmen attacked the Ivory Coast resort town popular with Ivorians and Westerners, killing fourteen civilians and two soldiers. Ivory Coast ministers were to hold emergency talks after the first jihadist attack on its soil claimed 16 lives at a beach resort frequented by foreigners, as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
A resident helps clean up the beach on March 14 , 2016 in Grand Bassam a day after heavily armed gunmen opened fire at a hotel in the Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand-Bassam. Gunmen killed 16 people at an Ivory Coast resort on March 13 leaving bodies strewn on the beach, in an attack claimed by an Al-Qaeda affiliate as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. Armed with grenades and assault riffles, the attackers stormed three hotels in the sleepy resort of Grand-Bassam, popular with expats, around 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of the commercial hub Abidjan. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
A soldier stands guard outside the Etoile du Sud hotel where gunmen attacked people in Grand-Bassam (AP)
Ivorian soldiers control taxis near the beach in Grand-Bassam on March 14 , 2016 a day after heavily armed gunmen opened fire at a hotel in the Ivory Coast beach resort, killing 16 people. Gunmen killed 16 people at an Ivory Coast resort on March 13 leaving bodies strewn on the beach, in an attack claimed by an Al-Qaeda affiliate as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. Armed with grenades and assault riffles, the attackers stormed three hotels in the sleepy resort of Grand-Bassam, popular with expats, around 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of the commercial hub Abidjan. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
An Ivorian soldier stands guard along the beach front on March 14 , 2016 in Grand Bassam, some 40 kms east of Abidjan, a day after gunmen attacked the Ivory Coast resort town popular with Ivorians and Westerners, killing fourteen civilians and two soldiers. Ivory Coast ministers were to hold emergency talks after the first jihadist attack on its soil claimed 16 lives at a beach resort frequented by foreigners, as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
Ivorian soldiers patrol the street close to the beach in Grand Bassam, some 40 kms east of Abidjan on March 14 , 2016, a day after gunmen attacked the Ivory Coast resort town popular with Ivorians and Westerners, killing fourteen civilians and two soldiers. Ivory Coast ministers were to hold emergency talks after the first jihadist attack on its soil claimed 16 lives at a beach resort frequented by foreigners, as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
Vehicles drive past the street leading to the hotel Etoile du Sud in Grand Bassam, some 40 kms east of Abidjan on March 14 , 2016, a day after gunmen attacked the Ivory Coast resort town popular with Ivorians and Westerners, killing fourteen civilians and two soldiers. Ivory Coast ministers were to hold emergency talks after the first jihadist attack on its soil claimed 16 lives at a beach resort frequented by foreigners, as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
An Ivorian soldier stands guard ouside hotel Etoile du Sud in Grand Bassam, some 40 kms east of Abidjan on March 14 , 2016, a day after gunmen attacked the Ivory Coast resort town popular with Ivorians and Westerners, killing fourteen civilians and two soldiers. Ivory Coast ministers were to hold emergency talks after the first jihadist attack on its soil claimed 16 lives at a beach resort frequented by foreigners, as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
Residents walks past hotel Etoile du Sud in Grand Bassam, some 40 kms east of Abidjan on March 14 , 2016, a day after gunmen attacked the Ivory Coast resort town popular with Ivorians and Westerners, killing fourteen civilians and two soldiers. Ivory Coast ministers were to hold emergency talks after the first jihadist attack on its soil claimed 16 lives at a beach resort frequented by foreigners, as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
Coconuts are left abandoned on a stand along the beach in Grand Bassam, some 40 kms east of Abidjan on March 14 , 2016, a day after gunmen attacked the Ivory Coast resort town popular with Ivorians and Westerners, killing fourteen civilians and two soldiers. Ivory Coast ministers were to hold emergency talks after the first jihadist attack on its soil claimed 16 lives at a beach resort frequented by foreigners, as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
Young people walk along the beach in Grand Bassam, some 40 kms east of Abidjan on March 14 , 2016, a day after gunmen attacked the Ivory Coast resort town popular with Ivorians and Westerners, killing fourteen civilians and two soldiers. Ivory Coast ministers were to hold emergency talks after the first jihadist attack on its soil claimed 16 lives at a beach resort frequented by foreigners, as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
A woman reacts as she looks for her son along the beach in Grand Bassam, some 40 kms east of Abidjan on March 14 , 2016, a day after gunmen attacked the Ivory Coast resort town popular with Ivorians and Westerners, killing fourteen civilians and two soldiers. Ivory Coast ministers were to hold emergency talks after the first jihadist attack on its soil claimed 16 lives at a beach resort frequented by foreigners, as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
An Ivorian patrols along the beach in Grand Bassam, some 40 kms east of Abidjan on March 14 , 2016, a day after gunmen attacked the Ivory Coast resort town popular with Ivorians and Westerners, killing fourteen civilians and two soldiers. Ivory Coast ministers were to hold emergency talks after the first jihadist attack on its soil claimed 16 lives at a beach resort frequented by foreigners, as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
Ivorian security forces patrol on the beach on March 14 , 2016 in Grand Bassam a day after heavily armed gunmen opened fire at a hotel in the Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand-Bassam. Gunmen killed 16 people at an Ivory Coast resort on March 13 leaving bodies strewn on the beach, in an attack claimed by an Al-Qaeda affiliate as fears grow of a mounting jihadist threat in west Africa. Armed with grenades and assault riffles, the attackers stormed three hotels in the sleepy resort of Grand-Bassam, popular with expats, around 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of the commercial hub Abidjan. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGOISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images

At least 16 people have died after armed men stormed an Ivory Coast beach resort.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said there was no indication at this stage that any Britons had been caught up in the incident, but reports said Ivorian officials confirmed two of the casualties were French and German nationals.

The Ivory Coast's president Alassane Ouattara said 14 civilians and two special forces operatives, as well as six attackers, were killed in the attack on three hotels in Grand-Bassam, a popular weekend destination for both Ivorian nationals and foreigners.

The beach setting of the incident - about 25 miles east of Ivory Coast's economic centre Abidjan - bears a resemblance to the attack in the Tunisian resort of Sousse last June in which 30 Britons were among 38 tourists killed.

Meanwhile, officials said a car bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara killed more than 30 people and wounded around 75 others.

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: "I'm appalled by the devastating terror attacks in Ankara and the Ivory Coast. My thoughts are with all those affected."

French minister for foreign affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Twitter that France remained fully mobilised against terrorism.

Ivorian footballers led tributes to the victims.

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure wrote on his Facebook page in both French and English.

He said: "It is with a heavy heart that I learnt of the tragedy that befell my country on Sunday afternoon. I am saying prayers for all the mourning families and offer comfort and support to the Ivorian population.

"Equally, the president of the republic who made the effort to manage the situation for the tranquillity and peace in the Ivory Coast. May God watch over the Ivory Coast."

Bournemouth footballer Max Gradel tweeted: "May God protect my lovely country in this hard moment Cote D'ivoire".

The historic town of Grand-Bassam is a Unesco World Heritage site.

Foreign Office travel advice for the country warns against all but essential travel to certain parts of the country.

It says: "There is a high threat from terrorism. You should be vigilant after recent attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners."

For Grand-Bassam, the website says people should check travel advice before travelling.

The advice was updated on February 9 and was still said to be current on March 13.

A group that monitors jihadist websites said al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the attack in Ivory Coast.

Witness Marcel Guy saw at least four gunmen with Kalashnikov rifles on the beach. He said one approached two children, and spoke in Arabic.

One child knelt and prayed, but the other was shot dead.

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph