The Islamist group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which claimed Sunday’s attack on the Ivorian beach resort of Grand Bassam, on Monday night released a second statement on the internet, giving more details about the incident.
The group’s statement described the attack in Ivory Coast as “a retaliation against France” according to RFI. The statement further noted that the attack was “a warning to Ivory Coast” and by extension, to all allies of France who “participate in the fight against jihadists.”
Grand-Bassam is the farthest AQIM has gone outside of its traditional bases mainly in North Africa, the Sahel and Sahara regions where it is fighting against French military operations.
The group said after Grand Bassam, its next target was a country linked to French military operations in Africa naming operation Serval (which has its headquarters in Mali) and operation Barkhane (hosted by Chad).
The group is urging countries involved in what it called a “satanic alliance” with France to withdraw else the “jihadists will target them even in their most fortified lairs.”
AQIM said the Grand Bassam attack was “revenge” for “our brothers recently killed by France.” Some believe this may be a reference to Abu al-Nour al-Andalusi, the AQIM leader who was reportedly killed by French forces near the Malian town of Timbuktu.
The statement warned Muslims to stay away from places frequently visited by foreigners in order to avoid being casualties in future attacks.
Two of the three fighters killed on Sunday are said to be Fulanis while the third is said to be “Ansar” – suggesting he is a local, perhaps an Ivorian.