11 convicted over deadly extremist attack in Ivory Coast

Dec 27, 2022, 6:48 PM | Updated: Dec 28, 2022, 9:55 am
FILE - A road leading to the Etoile du Sud Hotel, seen in the background, is cordoned off near the ...

FILE - A road leading to the Etoile du Sud Hotel, seen in the background, is cordoned off near the site of an attack in Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast, on March 15, 2016. Eleven people have been sentenced to life in prison in Ivory Coast on Wednesday Dec. 28, 2022 after being convicted of carrying out an Islamic extremist attack that killed 19 people and injured dozens more on a tourist beach nearly seven years ago. (AP Photo/Carley Petesch, File)

(AP Photo/Carley Petesch, File)

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Eleven people were sentenced to life in prison in Ivory Coast on Wednesday after being convicted of carrying out an Islamic extremist attack that killed 19 people and injured dozens more on a tourist beach nearly seven years ago.

The killings in the Grand-Bassam resort area by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb were the nation’s first extremist attack of its kind and one of the bloodiest in the region.

The long-awaited verdict was read by Judge Charles Bini in a packed courtroom in the capital Abidjan where 18 defendants have been on trial since November. Only four of the accused were physically present, each of whom was sentenced to life in prison. Seven of the accused were found innocent, said Bini. The families of the victims were awarded varying compensation of up to $81,000.

Grand-Bassam is linked by highway to Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s largest city, and is a popular weekend destination. When gunfire broke out on the beach that Sunday afternoon in March 2016, many holidaymakers initially thought they were hearing fireworks. But when the armed jihadis approached, terrified tourists and workers tried to seek refuge in nearby hotels. Some beachgoers who were in the ocean at the time of the attack swam out beyond the waves to safety.

The victims included 11 Ivorians, four French nationals, one German, one Lebanese, one person from North Macedonia and one from Nigeria.

Survivors of the attack were satisfied with the verdict but said they wouldn’t get closure until everyone involved in the attack was caught.

“It’s good, but unfortunately everything is not perfect because the mastermind was not on the stand. It will be over for the victims when he is caught,” said Patrick Colin, manager of a hotel in Grand-Bassam.

The whereabouts of Kounta Dallah, a Mali national and the alleged mastermind of the attack, are unknown. An international warrant has been issued for his arrest, the court said.

Since the Grand-Bassam killings, jihadi attacks in West Africa have spiked. The Sahel region in neighboring Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso has been overrun by violence, which is now spreading to coastal states, including Ivory Coast. Between July and December there were three jihadi attacks in the country, compared to none in the same period the year before, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

The fact that it took so long to reach a verdict in Ivory Coast shows the complexity of the process but also sends a message to those involved in extremist attacks that they’ll at some point pay the price, conflict analysts say.

“Credit (to) the Ivorian authorities, security and intelligence agencies for putting together all the information and evidence to bring those responsible to justice, definitely took a lot of work behind the scenes to get here,” said Rida Lyammouri, senior fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, a Morocco-based organization.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Rebecca Mwenda, wife to Josphert Mwenda who was murdered alongside human rights lawyer Willy Kimani...
Associated Press

Former Kenyan policeman sentenced to death for murder

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A Kenyan former policeman was sentenced to death on Friday for the murder of a human rights lawyer, his client and a taxi driver. Frederick Leliman and three others were convicted of carrying out the murders in 2016, in one of a series of cases of alleged police brutality and extrajudicial […]
1 day ago
FILE - A Leopard 1 tank drives in Storkau, Germany, on May 19, 2000. Ukraine may be able to add old...
Associated Press

Ukraine may also get old Leopard 1 tanks from German stocks

BERLIN (AP) — Ukraine may be able to add old Leopard 1 battle tanks from German defense industry stocks to deliveries of modern tanks that Berlin and other governments pledged last week to counter Russian forces in the war. German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit confirmed Friday that “export authorization has been granted” but declined to […]
1 day ago
FILE - President Barack Obama, left, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New START treat...
Associated Press

NATO urges Russia to respect nuclear pact with the US

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO called Friday on Russia to respect the only treaty it has with the United States aimed at keeping a lid on nuclear weapons expansion and urged Moscow to allow on-the-ground inspections of military sites to resume. The so-called New START Treaty was signed by Russia and the U.S. in 2010. It […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

UK man admits treason over crossbow plot against queen

LONDON (AP) — A man who was arrested on the grounds of Windsor Castle with a loaded crossbow pleaded guilty to treason on Friday for planning to attack Queen Elizabeth II. Jaswant Singh Chail, 21, admitted to a charge under the Treason Act of intending to “injure the person of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Reports: 8 migrants’ bodies recovered by Italian coast guard

MILAN (AP) — The bodies of eight migrants have been recovered by Italy’s coast guard during an operation overnight that also rescued 42 survivors in the central Mediterranean off the island of Lampedusa, Italian news agency ANSA reported Friday. The coast guard in Rome and in Lampedusa declined to immediately confirm details of the rescue, […]
1 day ago
Ice coats trees at an Austin, Texas, home, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. A storm knocked out power for a...
Associated Press

Texas power woes linger as Arctic air heads for New England

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — As rising temperatures offered some hope for frustrated Texans shivering in their homes days after losing power in a deadly winter storm, another wave of frigid weather was taking aim Friday at the northern U.S. An Arctic cold front was expected to move from Canada into the northern Plains and Upper […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
11 convicted over deadly extremist attack in Ivory Coast