Ofeibea Quist-Arcton of NPR is reporting the Ivory Coast is struggling to stay afloat after al-Qaeda terrorists open fired on swimmers and diners one week ago at a popular beachfront weekend getaway in Grand Bassam, the historic former capital of Ivory Coast. The author writes:
“Bassam, as the sleepy, pretty town is known, is a short 25-mile ride from the economic capital and main city, Abidjan. Bassam is much favored by local families and visitors, including children of all ages.
March 13 was a lazy, sweltering Sunday, as swimmers frolicked in the warm Atlantic Ocean waters, sunbathers enjoyed a day outdoors, and visitors and tourists sat down for lunch at hotels and restaurants overlooking the sea.
That’s when al-Qaida (sic) in the Islamic Maghreb, by its own admission, claims its black balaclava-clad militants, toting heavy weapons, first sprayed the palm-fringed beach. They fired in and out of the water before turning their weapons from the beach to the diners.
At least 19 Ivorians and foreigners were killed in the carnage. One body, with a bullet to the head, washed up midweek, fueling concern that others may follow.
The deadly assault on Grand Bassam was the third in five months in West Africa on a former French colony. Mali’s capital Bamako was first in November, with a siege on the Radisson Blu Hotel, favored by foreigners. Then the January siege in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, on the Splendid Hotel and Cappuccino cafe. Foreigners were among the 20 people killed in Bamako and 30 killed in Ouagadougou.”
Some believe that these African countries have been targeted due to their close association with the French government, which maintains a military presence in all three countries and intervened in Islamist terrorist attacks last year. Fear of another attack is keeping tourists away from the desirable location, which is hurting the economy.
Read more or listen to this story at NPR.