UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai has condemned the terrorist attacks that reportedly killed 16 people, including four Europeans, and wounded many in Ivory Coast’s beach resort town of Grand Bassam on Sunday.
According to reports, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the attacks on at least three hotels in the Grand Bassam beach resort area.
“We are appalled by this horrible act of violence”, Mr Rifai said in a statement. “Our thoughts at this difficult moment are with the families and friends of the victims and the people of Côte d’Ivoire.”
He said the UNWTO reaffirmed its full support and confidence in Côte d’Ivoire’s tourism sector which has been growing over the last years.
“We trust that tourism will continue to play a key role in advancing development in Côte d’Ivoire”, he said and noted that the country’s commercial capital of Abidjan will host the 58th UNWTO Commission for Africa and the 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Conference & Symposium on 19-21 April.
Grand Bassam is about 25 miles east of Abidjan and the most populous French-speaking city in West Africa.
Meanwhile, at least 37 people were killed and over 70 hospitalised after a car bomb struck Ankara, Turkey, on Sunday. The attack came three weeks after a suicide car bombing in the capital targeted buses carrying military personnel, killing 29 people.