Ivory Coast’s trial over the 2016 terrorist assault on a vacationer seaside is about to start
Eighteen persons are on trial in Ivory Coast on Wednesday accused of involvement in one of many deadliest jihadist assaults in West Africa – a machine gun assault on a seaside resort in 2016 that left 19 lifeless.
However solely 4 of the 18 will attend the long-awaited procedures in Abidjan, the financial hub of Ivory Coast.
The remainder are both fugitives or are being held in Mali, Aude Remelho, a lawyer for the civil plaintiffs, mentioned.
On March 13, 2016, three males with assault rifles attacked Grand Bassam, a vacationer complicated 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Abidjan common with foreigners.
In an operation repeating the jihadist bloodbath in Tunisia the earlier 12 months, they stormed the seaside after which attacked a number of inns and eating places.
The massacre, which lasted 45 minutes, ended when the three had been shot lifeless by the Ivorian safety forces.
Al Qaeda’s North African department, Al Qaeda Group within the Islamic Maghreb, claimed duty the identical day.
It mentioned the assault was a response to anti-jihadist operations within the Sahel area carried out by France and its allies and concentrating on Ivory Coast for handing over AQIM fighters to Mali.
Terrorism and homicide prices Dozens of individuals, together with three suspected accomplices of the lifeless attackers, had been arrested in Mali.
Lawyer Basic Richard Addo mentioned final week that the costs in opposition to the 18 embody acts of terrorism, homicide, tried homicide, felony cover-up and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition “and complicity in these acts”.
19 folks had been killed – 9 Ivorians, 4 French nationals, a Lebanese, a German, a Macedonian, a Malian, a Nigerian, and an unidentified particular person.
33 folks of various nationalities had been injured.
These prosecuted had been “little fry” and warned in opposition to seeing the proceedings as a chance to close them down, Reméloux, who’s representing the French prosecutors.
“The individuals who deliberate the operation are in Mali,” she mentioned.
She mentioned that the prospects for them to see the trial there are overshadowed by the “chilly between France and Mali,” referring to the breakdown in relations between Paris and the ruling navy junta in Mali.
Mali is the epicenter of a decade-old jihadist insurgency that has rocked the Sahel area, claiming hundreds of lives and forcing tons of of hundreds to flee their houses.
The assault on Grand Bassam was the primary and bloodiest in a collection of separate assaults on international locations positioned on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, south of the coast.
In January 2017, the French anti-jihadist Barkhane pressure arrested the primary suspect, Mimi Ould Baba Ould Cheikh.
Ivory Coast investigators named him one of many instigators of the Grand Bassam assault, and Burkina Faso described him because the “operation commander” in an assault on Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou in January 2016 that killed 30 folks.