Ivory Coast President Said Al-Qaeda Terror Attack Wouldn’t Impede With The Country’s Economic Progress
Militant group Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for a shooting attack in Ivory Coast on Sunday, killing at least 16 people and more wounded. However, the country's president Alassane Ouattara said that they would not let the incident disrupt Ivory Coast's economic progress.
According to Al Jazeera, the attack happened at a beach resort of Grand Bassam, 40km east of the country's economic capital Abidjan. Grand Bassam is a UNESCO World Heritage site popular among tourists, including foreign tourists. The first on-site report revealed that there are fourteen civilians, among them four Europeans, and two special forces soldiers killed on the attack. More than 26 other people were wounded in the tourism center.
The shooting attack was carried out by six assailants. All six of them were gunned down by the country's security forces, three of them died during the rampage. Reports said that the men went drinking at the beachside bar before they launched the attack on tourists.
President Ouattara expressed his condolences in the wake of the attack. "I present my condolences to the families of the people who were murdered, and of course, I am very proud of our security forces who reacted so fast. The toll could've been much heavier," he said.
It's also reported that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the attack. It was the third major attack on a tourism center in West Africa since November last year. According to Yahoo News, the president has declared three days of mourning for the country in the first time they've been hit by the militant extremist group Al-Qaeda.
President Ouattara also stated that he has increased security measures after the attack. "We won't allow these terrorists to halt our progress towards economic development," he said in a televised address, as reported by Bloomberg. "I'm asking everyone to not give in to fear. You can continue with your daily activities as our forces control the situation and security is ensured throughout the nation."
Yahoo News reported that after President Ouattara won the election in October, he promised to attract foreign investment to the largest economy in French-speaking West Africa. Ivory Coast is also known as the world's top cocoa producer. "Ivory Coast will not let itself be intimated by terrorists. Yes, Ivory Coast is on its feet. Yes, on its feet to combat the cowards and protect its people," he stated.
Some raised their criticism of the country's vulnerability in such a sensitive target as the tourism center. However, the president has responded that he is doing everything he can to improve security, combat terrorism in the country, and not letting such attacks get in the way of the country's efforts to develop the economy.