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Attack in Grand Bassam in Ivory Coast (maj1)

(B2) Grand Bassam, the seaside resort of Ivory Coast, located about 30 km from the economic capital Abidjan, was attacked on Sunday. Several attackers burst onto the beach around 13 p.m., attacking, in turn, three hotels — the Etoile du Sud and the Paillote — with assault rifles. A very busy place on Sundays, both by local and expatriate customers, and located not far from the French military base of Port Bouët.

At least 1 French and 1 German

In an initial assessment, there are at least 16 dead: 14 civilians and 2 Ivorian soldiers. At least 4 French and 1 Lebanese are among the victims, confirmed the respective foreign ministries. According to the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cited by theEast by Day, the Lebanese killed, Toufik Hayek, was 54 years old and originally from Nabatiyeh. At least one German is also believed to have died as well as Beninese, Burkinabés, Cameroonians and Ivorians. The shooters do not seem to have had any questions about their targets, firing at everyone present.

19 civilians were also injured — including 5 Lebanese — and 3 soldiers. Some of them are in serious, even critical condition.

The 3 assailants were killed according to the words of President Alassane Ouattara, broadcast by RFI.

An attack claimed by AQIM

The attack was claimed by the group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). This is the first attack of this kind in this West African state which has a common border (to the north) with Mali. In its format and its targets, this attack resembles that of Sousse (Tunisia) in June 2015, Bamako (Mali) in November 2015, or Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) in January 2016.

The role of forward operational base of Abidjan

French forces (FFCI) are still present in Ivory Coast, which has a strategic role in the French system in Africa. Their base, located at the Port-Bouët camp, is very close to Grand Bassam. The workforce has certainly been reduced since the Licorne force. But it plays a notable role as a rear base, at Abidjan airport, for the forces deployed in the Sahel in particular (Barkhane). We are now talking about a “presence” force, prepositioned, ensuring the role of forward operational base. The FFCI thus have a joint staff, combat units, a support element, gendarmes (for the provost). They are also responsible for the instruction and training of Ivorian forces.

The French Ministers of the Interior (Bernard Cazeneuve) and Foreign Affairs (Jean-Marc Ayrault) will be in Abidjan on Tuesday (March 15), announced the Quai d'Orsay.


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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).