UN: Ban, UNWTO condemn Ivorian beach resort attacks

New York, US (PANA) - United Nation Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the terrorist attacks that have killed at least 14 civilians and wounded 22 others in Côte d'Ivoire's beach resort town of Grand Bassam on Sunday.

“The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attacks carried out (on Sunday) in three hotels in the town of Grand Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire,” Mr. Ban's spokesman said in a statement on Sunday. “He expresses his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the people and Government of Côte d'Ivoire and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.”

Official sources said 22 people died in the attack. They are made up of 14 civilians, including four Westerners, two elements of the Ivorian special forces and six terrorists.

The sources said 19 civilians and three members of the special forces were injured.

Mr. Ban reiterated the UN's commitment to stand with the people of Côte d'Ivoire at this difficult time and extended his full support to the Government in its efforts to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice, the spokesman added.

A condemnation also came from the UN tourism agency.

“We are appalled by this horrible act of violence,” World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said in a statement. “Our thoughts at this difficult moment are with the families and friends of the victims and the people of Côte d'Ivoire.”

He said UNWTO reaffirmed its full support and confidence in the West African nation's tourism sector, which has been growing over the last years.

“We trust that tourism will continue to play a key role in advancing development in Côte d'Ivoire,” he said, noting that the country's commercial capital of Abidjan will host a 19-21 April meeting for the 58th UNWTO Commission for Africa and the 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Conference & Symposium.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack at the Ivorian town of Grand-Bassam that has claimed 22 lives and left 22 others injured.

PANA reports that Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, who visited the scene of the attack, just outside the main city of Abidjan, on Sunday, said 22 people were killed and 22 others injured in the attack on three beach hotels at Grand-Bassam.

According to the official count, 14 civilians, including four Westerners, two elements of the Ivorian special forces and six terrorists died in the attack.

The Minister of the Interior and Security, Hamed Bakayoko, said that the dead were of French, German, Malian, Burkina Faso and Cameroonian nationalities.

He also said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in contact with the embassies of the countries of the victims.

President Ouattara said that the situation was under control and stressed that these "cowardly terrorist attacks" would not be tolerated in his country.

"At the time that I am speaking, calm has returned to Grand-Bassam. People who were at Assini, 50 km from here, for the weekend, have returned quietly to Abidjan. I would say to all our fellow citizens, to the entire population that the situation is under control. Calm has returned and we continue to strengthen security in Grand-Bassam, Abidjan and throughout the Ivorian territory," President Ouattara said.

He lauded the rapid response of the defence forces and Ivorian security which "neutralised" the six terrorists after a fierce fight that lasted between three and four hours.

The terrorist attack on Grand-Bassam follows similar attacks on hotels in two other West African cities - Bamako, the Malian capital last November, and Ouagadougou, the Burkina Faso capital, last January.
-0- PANA MA 14March2016

14 march 2016 07:05:41

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