Dec. 28 (EUROPA PRESS) –
An Ivory Coast court has sentenced to life imprisonment the four main defendants for the attack carried out in March 2016 in the coastal city of Grand Bassam, which left nearly 20 dead and whose authorship was claimed by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The four main defendants, who were in custody, have appeared at trial for their role in the operation. Among them is the man who drove the vehicle that transported the attackers, the owner of the place where they lived and two people who would have provided the terrorists with weapons.
Seven other defendants have also been sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia – fugitives or detainees in Mali – including Kounta Dalla and Ould Baba, the two intellectual ‘brains’ of the terrorist operation. In addition, the remaining seven have been acquitted, as reported by Radio France Internationale.
The judges have thus followed the request of the prosecutor Richard Adou who demanded during the trial an “exemplary and dissuasive sentence” for those involved, 18 in total, who were charged with murder, attempted murder and terrorism, although the majority remain on the run.
The attack was perpetrated by at least four men armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles in a tourist complex frequented by Westerners in the Ivorian town of Grand Bassam (south). The terrorists attacked up to three hotels and later fled, leaving behind hand grenades and a couple of chargers.
Jihadist groups, mainly the affiliates of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in the Sahel, have multiplied their actions in recent years in Mali, Burkina Faso and western Niger, and the governments of the region fear that they could continue to spread their activity towards the coastal countries of West Africa.