March 13, 2016: Gunmen target beach resort in Ivory Coast

On this day in 2016 at least 16 people were killed in a gun attack on a beach resort in southern Ivory Coast.

GRAND BASSAM, IVORY COAST – When terrorist groups strike beyond their normal ‘territory’ that is not a good development.

Some terrorist groups are very clear in who they are and where they are. Here are some examples:

When you include your area of operations in your title you are in effect laying claim to where you seek to concentrate your efforts. This also gives security intelligence and law enforcement agencies an idea of where to concentrate their resources.

So what if a group believed to have a specific range decides to attack elsewhere?

On this day in 2016

At least 16 people were killed in a gun attack on a beach resort in southern Ivory Coast. The attackers fired on beach-goers in Grand Bassam, 40km from the commercial capital Abidjan, at a resort popular with both locals and foreigners. Four of the dead were Westerners, including a French and a German national.

We could hear them shooting so we could hear that they were going right next to where we were. It was a miracle the baby didn’t cry.

Eye witness

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a group normally associated with attacks further north in Africa, was quick to claim responsibility for the attack. It published its claim in four languages – a sign that the group was seeking to boost its media profile to match its enhanced operational capabilities.

Ivory Coast is not normally associated with terrorism (like Canada, actually). On this day, unfortunately, that pattern did not hold.

Read More Today in Terrorism

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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