Attackers fire on beachgoers on Ivory Coast

Mar 13, 2016 1:48 PM

An apparent attack by armed assailants was reported Sunday afternoon in a popular southeastern Ivory Coast beach town about 25 miles east of Ivory Coast's economic center, Abidjan.

CBS News Sarah Carter reports two hotels were attacked in Grand-Bassam, a popular weekend destination for Ivorians and foreigners. Officials say the attackers started on the beach and moved up to a hotel popular with expats and middle-class Ivorians.

A witness told CBS News there are six bodies on the beach, one in the hotel, possibly one the bodies is one of the gunmen. The witness also said guns, grenades and ammunition clips were found lying around the hotel

Witnesses reported multiple bursts of gunfire and social media has been circulating photos of bodies along the beach. An exact casualty toll has not been announced by the government, nor has the exact nature of the attack.

Josiane Sekongo, 25, said shots rang out Sunday afternoon.

Sekongo, who lives across from one of the town's many beachfront hotels, said she ran outside when she heard the gunfire and saw people running away from the beach. She said residents were hiding in their homes as security forces responded.

It was unclear how many assailants were involved. The historic town of Grand-Bassam is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In January, more than two dozen were killed at a hotel popular with foreigners in nearby Burkina Faso, in an attack claimed by Islamic militants. Officials feared the spread of the extremists is no reaching further throughout the region.

In June of last year, 30 British tourists were among the 38 victims killed by an Islamic extremist at a Tunisian beach resort. The lone gunman was reported to have strolled along the beach with an AK-47 killing anyone he could.


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