Ivory Coast authorities confirm sixteen people dead as Al-Qaeda Militants stormed Grand Bassam beach resort in a murdering rampage.
Terrorist group Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for an attack which also saw four Westerners of French and German nationalities dead and a few others sustained injuries.
The gunmen stormed the L’Etoile du Sud hotel resort while shooting from the Beach.
The balaclava-wearing gunmen opened fire at guests, using AK-47s and hand grenades to perpetuate their attacks.
The militants murdered a five year-old boy who ‘fell to his knees and begged for his life’.
An eyewitness said: “They killed a child despite him kneeling down and begging. They shot a woman in the chest. They’ve killed innocent people”.
Marcel Guy who was also a survivor narrated how:
“a man with a long beard spoke to two children in Arabic and spared the life of the one who was able to recite an Islamic prayer”.
“The Christian boy was shot and killed right in front of my eyes”.
An eyewitness, Charline Burton told BBC, “We could hear them shooting so we could hear that they were going right next to where we were. It was a miracle the baby didn’t cry”.
She was sitting on the beach with her husband and two kids when the militants shooting rage began.
She grabbed one of her kids and ran with her husband taking the other child.
Out of the sixteen killed, fourteen were civilians with two soldiers. Four of the civilians were French and German national, the other two nationalities haven’t been verified.
The six men were later gunned down in a shootout with government troops.
The resort which is popular to both foreigners and locals is located some 25 miles from Abidjan.
Ivory Coast used to be one of the few stable countries in West Africa but the 2002 civil war changed its peace and tranquility.
The fight which started after the muslim-occupied North and christian-occupied South stood against each other introduced bloodshed into the country.
Talks to bring peace to each region have proved futile.
Claiming responsibility for the attack, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) published a statement in four languages, Arabic, English, French and Spanish.
AQIM accepted “three of its militants were responsible for the attack”.
The brief statement was published as an image on the terrorist group’s Twitter account and through the Telegram messaging app.
There is correlation between its format and that of jihadist rivals Islamic State group (IS).
This stands as an indication, AQIM intends to emulate IS’s advanced media operation.
Few hours proceeding the attack, Ivory Coast President, Alassane Ouattara, visited the site; he assured his countrymen “the security in the country will be strengthened. These cowardly attacks by terrorists will not be tolerated”.
French President Francois Hollande also condemned the attack.
Ivory Coast’s National Security Council is holding an emergency meeting to discuss the attack.