Gunmen attack tourist hotels in Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire

Gunmen attack tourist hotels in Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire Grand Bassam is popular with tourists in the Côte d’Ivoire

As many as two dozen people have been killed in Grand Bassam, a coastal city in Côte d’Ivoire.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the attacks, with centred on three hotels in the Grand Bassam beach resort area.

Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara confirmed two special forces soldiers died during the assault, along with as many as 22 tourists.

Six of the assailants were killed by government forces.

At least four Europeans were among the civilians killed.

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The rest are believed to be locals.

Witnesses said the gunmen arrived on foot, wearing hooded masks.

The Grand Bassam area, a UNESCO world heritage site just 25 miles away from Abidjan, the commercial capital, is popular with expatriates and locals.

The UNWTO strongly condemned the attack.

A statement read: “We are appalled by this horrible act of violence.

“Our thoughts at this difficult moment are with the families and friends of the victims and the people of Côte d’Ivoire.”

UNWTO reaffirmed its full support and confidence in Côte d’Ivoire’s tourism sector which has been growing over the last years.

“We trust that tourism will continue to play a key role in advancing development in Côte d’Ivoire and we very much look forward meeting in Abidjan on April 19th-21st for the 58th UNWTO Commission for Africa and the 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Conference & Symposium,” added UNWTO secretary-general Talib Rifai.