US: US, France condemn terrorist attacks on Ivorian beach resort

Washington, US (PANA) - The United States of America and France have joined the chorus of condemnation of Sunday's bloody attacks on the Ivorian beach resort town of Grand-Bassam in which 14 civilians died and pledged assistance to find the terrorists.

The United States on its part strongly condemned the terrorist attack on three hotels Grand-Bassam, about 40 kms east of the main city of Abidjan, and pledged assistance to investigate the "heinous attack".

"We send our thoughts and prayers to all affected by this senseless violence," John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs, said in a statement on Sunday.

"The U.S. Embassy in Abidjan is making every effort to account for the welfare of American citizens in the area. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updated information to the U.S. citizen community as it becomes available," the US statement said.

"Cote d’Ivoire is an important regional partner to the United States, and in the days ahead we stand ready to support the Ivorian government as it investigates this heinous attack," it added.

France on its part has condemned the attack and offered to help the Ivorian government find the perpetrators.

French President Francois Hollande condemned the "cowardly attack" on its former colony in West Africa.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also has condemned the terrorist attacks that killed at least 14 civilians and wounded 22 others.

“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.

Eyewitnesses said heavily armed gunmen opened fire on innocent people in the hotels.

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 07:34:56




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