Two Malians who “actively participated” in the jihadist attack that killed 19 people in the Ivory Coast resort town of Grand-Bassam, including the “right arm” of the brains of the operation, were arrested in northern Mali.The arrests, announced on Sunday by Malian security sources, have been welcomed by Ivorian authorities who called for “international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.”
On March 13, three attackers fired at random at a beach in Grand-Bassam, near Abidjan which is a popular spot for Ivorians and foreigners alike. They targeted restaurants killing 19 people, including four French nationals, and wounding twenty others.
The attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Fifteen people in connection with the attack have been arrested by Ivorian investigators supported by the anti-terrorist center of Paris and a dozen French police officers. The US and Germany are also involved in the investigations.
The two suspects arrested on Friday and Saturday in northern Mali gave “clues that prove that (they) actively participated in the attack of Grand-Bassam,” a security source in the region told AFP.
This information was confirmed by several security sources.
The first suspect, identified as Ibrahim Ould Mohamed was arrested Friday night in Goundam, a town 80 km from Timbuktu (north-west), reported security sources.
“He is the driver and right arm man of the brain behind the attack on Grand-Bassam, Kunta Dallah. He gave interesting information,” said an official of the Timbuktu gendarmerie, without giving further details.
Kunta Dallah, who is actively sought, is suspected of having organized and executed the attack against the resort, according to the prosecutor of Abidjan who did not reveal his nationality.