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Six gunmen 'neutralised' after killing at least 16 people in Ivory Coast

At least 14 civilians and two soldiers were shot dead.

Updated: 6.48pm

SIX GUNMEN WHO carried out a deadly attack on three hotels in the Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand-Bassam have been “neutralised”, the country’s interior minister said.

“Three hotels were attacked by armed men,” Hamed Bakayoko said in a statement read on national television.

“Ivorian security forces intervened immediately and were able to neutralise six terrorists,” he said.

At least 16 people were killed in the shootings – 14 civilians and two soldiers. The resort is popular with Westerners.

The assailants, who were “heavily armed and wearing balaclavas, fired at guests at the L’Etoile du Sud (Southern Star), a large hotel which was full of expats in the current heatwave,” a witness told AFP.

The resort is located around 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of the commercial hub Abidjan.

Attacks in recent months on luxury hotels in the capitals of neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso have left dozens of people dead, leaving West African nations scrambling to boost security in the face of a growing jihadist threat.

Analysts have voiced fears that Islamist attacks could spread to countries such as Ivory Coast and Senegal, and the region’s US-led Flintlock military exercises that wrapped up recently focused on the need to counter jihadism.

Home to some 80,000 people, Grand-Bassam holds UNESCO World Heritage status thanks to its elegant colonial-era facades.

© AFP 2016

Read: Angela Merkel’s party faces hammering at polls over refugee policy

Read: Twin boys (2) drown after falling into garden pool

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