Suspected al Qaeda gunmen who stormed a tourist resort in the Ivory Coast shot dead a young child because he did not speak Arabic, an eyewitness has revealed.
At least four men armed with AK47s and hand grenades gunned down 14 people in the historic town of Grand Bassam before they were killed in a shootout with Government troops.
One survivor, Marcel Guy, told of how the shooters approached two children and spoke to them in Arabic. He said one child knelt and prayed and the other one was shot on the spot.
The heavily armed, balaclava clad shooters then opened fired on guests at the L’Etoile du Sud [Southern Star] hotel which was full of expats, another witness said.
Graphic images showed several dead bodies, some of whom are thought to be French tourists, scattered across the beach near the Etoile du Sud. Security forces and members of the Ivorian Red Cross were clearing the bodies.
Jacques Able, the owner of the hotel, said at least one person was killed in his building.
Footage from a different hotel’s balcony showed people running from their lives as the shooters tried to gun down other unarmed holidaymakers.
The country’s Government said six armed men have been ‘neutralised’ following attacks on three different hotels.
Terror group Al Qaeda in the Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the attack through one of their social media accounts, but this has not been independently verified.
Several French nationals may have been killed in the deadly attack, with witnesses describing how the gunmen arrived on the beach via a boat.
Josiane Sekongo, 25, who lives across from one of the town’s many beachfront hotels, described the shocking moment the attack took place.
She ran outside after hearing gun fire and saw people sprinting away from the beach to hide in their homes, moments before the security forces arrived.
‘I saw seven dead that I filmed. There were four attackers. I was swimming when it started and I ran away,’ said Dramane Kima a local who filmed the bodies on Bassam’s shore.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Tom Wyke and Jay Akbar