Ivory Coast’s government said at least five people are dead after gunmen attacked beach hotels popular with foreigners on Sunday.

The French army is helping to track down the assailants in Grand Bassam, Bruno Kone, a government spokesman, said by phone. At least five attackers were killed and another five are on the run, he said. He declined to say if any civilians were injured or killed.

L’ Etoile du Sud hotel, the Wharf Hotel and Hotel La Taverne were the targets, according to two people, who asked not to be identified because the operation against the attackers is ongoing. Grand Bassam is about 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Abidjan, the commercial capital of Ivory Coast.

Groups linked to al-Qaeda have killed more than 50 people in attacks on hotels in the capitals of Mali and Burkina Faso since November. Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of cocoa, has been on high alert since then and has been warned by French officials about the possibility of an attack since last year.

Ivory Coast’s economy has rebounded under President Alassane Ouattara after almost a decade of conflict in the 2000s and a disputed election in 2010 that left thousands dead and forced the country to default on its foreign debt. Ouattara has pledged to boost economic growth to about 10 percent per year through 2020 from about 8 percent now.

Grand Bassam, the former capital during French colonial rule, is popular with residents of Abidjan as a weekend getaway. The beach has more than a dozen restaurants and hotels that are frequented by both Ivorians and foreigners.

With assistance from Olivier Monnier and Pauline Bax.

This article was written by Baudelaire Mieu from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Photo Credit: The website of L’ Etoile du Sud hotel.