Shooting in Ivory Coast Beachside Resort Kills at least 18

The Etoile du Sud hotel The Etoile du Sud hotel Reuters

13 March 2016
Al-Qaeda gunmen raid popular beach resort in Ivory Coast, killing 18 people.

On Sunday, March 13, six al-Qaeda gunmen from the North African branch raided a popular beach resort in Ivory Coast, killing 18 people, including 15 civilians and three members of the special forces, and wounding 33 others. This is the first terrorist attack to strike the West African state since 2011.

Christian Eddy, a worker at the beachside bar witnessed four men arriving in a car. Two of them entered the bar and drank beers for half an hour, while the other two remained outside. He said that the men outside were the first to begin shooting. Their first victim was a boy who was made to kneel before being shot. A deaf boy was playing nearby and went to the water unaware of the shooting. “People were yelling “Come over here!” But he didn’t know what was happening. They shot him in the water,” Eddy said.

The gunmen continued their killing spree down the beach, entering several hotels. Hotel guests and staff at Hotel Etoile du Sud panicked and fled as the first shots targeted a German woman and a Lebanese man in the hotel bar. One gunman was apparently disguised as a waiter.

Witnesses said that the first police officers arrived on the scene 15 minutes after the shootings began. Special units from the security forces took another 30 minutes to arrive from Abidjan, the commercial capital 40 km away from the resort. Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko said that the security forces were able to “neutralize six terrorists.”

Victims include citizens from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, France, Germany and Mali. French President Francois Hollande stated that “France will bring its logistical support and intelligence to Ivory Coast to find the attackers. It will pursue and intensify its cooperation with its partners in the fight against terrorism.”
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