Who Are The Ivory Coast Shooting Victims? Tourists Often Visit The Beach Resort Town
On Sunday, government officials in Côte d'Ivoire reported that several people were shot in the seaside city of Grand-Bassam. Initial reports claimed that an unspecified number of gunmen opened fire on two hotels in the Grand-Bassam area, known in the country for its role in trade and tourism. More than 10 victims were reported by the government as of noon Eastern time: five men, five women, and one child, though reports from media outlets have varied on the number of casualties.
Neither the identities or the statuses of the victims was immediately released in the government's statement. According to BBC News, casualties had been reported, but those remained unconfirmed. Around 1 p.m. Eastern time, Reuters reported with information from local police that 12 people had been killed, including four Europeans. A French foreign ministry spokesperson confirmed that one French citizen had been killed. Some reports marked the death toll much higher, with numbers as high as 16. The resort area where the shooting took place has been popular with Westerners who travel to the region, although the U.S. embassy said Sunday morning that there was no evidence that Americans had been harmed or targeted in the attack.
Grand-Bassam is located about 25 miles from the country's largest city, Abidjan. Côte d'Ivoire is a former French colonial outpost in western Africa; it has maintained a strong relationship with European countries, particularly France.
Côte d'Ivoire has suffered from violent civil war and unrest since 2002, when an armed uprising occurred while the country's president was away in Italy. Since that time, the United Nations has been largely involved in the country through peacekeeping operations. Between 2010 and 2011, in the wake of a contested election, thousands of people were killed, and hundreds of thousands fled the country.
It's unclear if the attacks on Sunday had anything to do with the underlying civil unrest in the country. Throughout the day, conflicting reports about the victim count and the identities of the victims came out from different government sources and news outlets. The tragedy will likely continue to rock the local community as more details surface.