France to send two top ministers to Ivory Coast

France is sending two top ministers to Abidjan after the deadly attack on a beach resort on Sunday

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Local people stand near a taped off area that formed part of the crime scene outside the Nouvelle Paillote Hotel, one of the three hotels involved in an attack at Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast, Monday, March 14, 2016.

France is preparing to send two significant ministers to Abidjan after the deadly attack on a beach resort that killed at least 16 people.

Fourteen civilians and two soldiers were killed at the Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand Bassamon on Sunday when gunmen stormed the popular weekend retreat and opened fire.

Both Foreign Affairs Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, and Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, will travel on Tuesday to express France’s solidarity to the country.

President Francois Hollande said that the attack was a "cowardly and odious attack" in the town of Grand-Bassam, where a French citizen was also killed.

Despite heightened security measures in recent months, the militants attacked civilians at one of the country's top destinations for both Ivorians and foreigners. However, security forces apparently responded quickly to the attack.

Home to some 80,000 people, Grand-Bassam holds UNESCO World Heritage status, thanks to its elegant colonial-era facades.

"These terrorist [militant] attacks can happen anywhere, at any time," Ivory Coast President, Alassane Ouattara, said on Sunday after visiting the Etoile du Sud hotel, one of the hotels where gunmen opened fire.

"We have shown that we have the capacity to contain the damage that can result," he said.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack.

TRTWorld, AP