Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AU), has condemned Sunday March 13, deadly terrorist attacks at the Ivorian beach resort of Grand Bassam.
The AU Chair’s sentiments were contained in a statement issued early Monday morning, the statement read in parts; ‘‘The Chairperson of the Commission strongly condemns these despicable and cowardly terrorist attacks that caused many casualties and injuries among the civilian population and the defense forces and Ivorian security.’‘
Zuma however remained resolute in calls for a concerted continental and global effort to fight the scourge of terrorism which was threatening not only the continent but global peace and security.
‘‘On this painful occasion, the AU presents its deepest condolences to the families of victims, wish a speedy recovery to those injured and expresses its full solidarity with the people and Government of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire,’‘ the statement added.
She further called for the need to deploy a rapid intervention force to Mali to combat terrorist and criminal groups operating from this region towards the entire Sub-Saharan Africa.
Facts of the Grand Bassam Attack
Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack against the resort of Grand Bassam, east of Abidjan, which left 16 people dead on Sunday, according to SITE, a US organization that monitors Islamist websites.
Of the 16 killed, fourteen were civilians and two soldiers, according to President Alassane Ouattara said.
“Six attackers came onto the beach in Bassam this afternoon. We have 14 civilians and two special forces soldiers who were unfortunately killed,” Ouattara said during a visit to the site. The six attackers were also killed, he said.
The assailants, heavily armed and wearing balaclavas, fired at patrons of The Southern Star, a large hotel popular at this time of year, according to a witness.
Being an historic city and former Ivorian capital along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, Grand-Bassam houses several hotels frequented by expatriates.
Ivory Coast’s Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko earlier said ‘six terrorists neutralized’ after resort attack.