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Ivoirien leader to preside over emergency cabinet meeting


Alassane OuattaraCote d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattara was scheduled to preside over an emergency cabinet meeting yesterday to respond to the attack by al-Qaeda extremists.

The attack on Grand-Bassam was the first of its kind in Cote d’Iviore. Officials had been bracing for one in the wake of similar assaults by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali.

Despite heightened security measures in recent months, the extremists attacked civilians at one of the country’s top destinations for both Ivoiriens and foreigners, but security forces apparently responded quickly.

Ivorien newspapers yesterday morning featured graphic photos of dead bodies sprawled on the beach. The headline for one paper, Le Patriote, read: “We are Grand-Bassam!”

“These terrorist attacks can happen anywhere, at any time,” 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.”

France’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, will travel to the West Africa country today alongside Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve. One French citizen was killed.

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