Hotel under attack in Ivory Coast beach resort: Witnesses
ABIDJAN - Agence France-Presse
Security forces drive towards Grand Bassam in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, March 13, 2016. REUTERS PhotoHeavily armed gunmen opened fire March 13 at a hotel in the Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand-Bassam which is popular with Westerners, witnesses told AFP.
The assailants, who were "heavily armed and wearing balaclavas, fired at guests at the L'Etoile du Sud (Southern Star), a large hotel which was full of expats in the current heatwave," a witness told AFP.
It was not immediately known how many people had been killed or injured or who was behind the shooting in the former French colonial capital, around 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of the commercial hub Abidjan.
Attacks in recent months on luxury hotels in the capitals of neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso have left dozens of people dead, leaving West African nations scrambling to boost security in the face of a growing jihadist threat.
Analysts have voiced fears that Islamist attacks could spread to countries such as Ivory Coast and Senegal, and the region's US-led Flintlock military exercises that wrapped up recently focused on the need to counter jihadism.
Home to some 80,000 people, Grand-Bassam holds UNESCO World Heritage status thanks to its elegant colonial-era facades.