IVORY COAST: Thousands Gather to Pay Tribute to Grand Bassam Terror Victims

ABIDJAN MARCH 22, 2016 (CISA) – Over 2000 Ivoirians gathered to pay tribute to victims of last week terror attack that claimed 19 lives in Grand Bassam,March 20.

“As Ivorians we should not be reduced to fear…fear among ourselves or even fear of the terrorists. We must remain strong and have faith,” said Hamed Bakayoko the country’s interior minister, in his speech.

The terrorist attack took place 13 when gunmen opened fire indiscriminately on swimmers and diners at a popular beachfront weekend getaway in Grand Bassam, the historic former capital of Ivory Coast which is just 40 km from the economic capital and main city, Abidjan. According to media reports, four suspects were apprehended over the weekend in Abidjan in connection to the assault.

On March 16, President Alassane Ouattara and his entire cabinet went to Grand Bassam for their weekly cabinet meeting — in solidarity with the victims.  “We came to show our sympathy and compassion to the victims. To their memory, to the families of the victims,” said President Ouattara.

He said that Côte d’Ivoire will never forget them and that it’s important for life to continue adding, “Although we are mourning, we want everyone to know that Côte d’Ivoire is united and that Côte d’Ivoire remains a land of hospitality.”

Late last week the Episcopal Conference of the Côte d’Ivoire (ECC) condemned the terrorist attack saying “We are shocked by this new manifestation of deadly violence, and invite all our compatriots to serenity and peaceful coexistence” in a statement signed by Bishop Alexis Touabli Youlo, of the Catholic diocese of Agboville and President of ECC.

In their statement, the Bishops thanked the volunteers who mobilized “to help their brothers and sisters” and praise the prompt reaction of the special security forces, rescue services, as well as the presence of the Head of State, Alassane Ouattara, and members of the government.

They further expressed closeness to the victims’ families and the injured, ensuring their prayer for peace in the Country.

The Ivorian government has announced almost $1 million in immediate assistance to the hotel and transport industries in Grand Bassam, as well as craftsmen and other local businesses hard hit by the attacks.

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