19 people killed by al-Qaeda in Africa, yet the U.S. mainstream media has not covered this tragedy at all.
Just as the media only covered the tragic Paris attacks in December, despite a few other attacks that occurred in other countries around the same time, mainstream media has chosen to ignore a terrorist attack that happened last week in Africa. 22 people were killed, with three of them being armed attackers, in Ivory Coast on March 13th by al-Qaeda while civilians were enjoying a day at the beach.
It was sunny and hot on March 13th, so the beaches were filled with people just trying to cool down and relax on the weekend. The resorts and beaches were filled with tourists and locals alike, apparently making it an opportune moment for a terrorist attack.
Three al-Qaeda members dressed in balaclavas and armed with Kalashnikov rifles and hand grenades descended onto the popular beach and opened fire on the civilians. Within minutes, they had killed 15 civilians and 4 special forces that responded quickly upon hearing the gunfire.
Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara arrived in Grand-Bassam, where the shooting rampage occurred, hours after the attack and expressed his condolences for the victims and their families. He also said, “I am very proud of our security forces who reacted so fast. The toll could’ve been much heavier.” Though three of the special forces were killed in a stand-off against the armed terrorists, they were able to shoot and kill the three gunmen before the terrorists could kill anymore innocent people.
One witness, Marcel Guy, said that an attacker with a long beard approached two young children and began saying something in Arabic. One of the children knelt and began praying and the other boy who did not, likely because he did not understand, was shot dead. Guy said, “The Christian boy was shot and killed right in front of my eyes.” After first drinking beers at a nearby beachside bar, the gunmen reportedly launched their attack there, first killing a boy that they made kneel first. Witness Christian Eddy said that the civilians tried to warn a deaf boy who was playing nearby, saying, “People were yelling ‘Come over here!’ But he didn’t know what was happening and just went down to the water. They shot him in the water.”
A local trader, Koba Maigu, said that friends who witnessed the carnage told him, “They shouted ‘Allahu Akbar.’ They were getting people to shout those words and they killed anyone who didn’t.” He also suggested that many must have run into the water to seek refuge and the death toll could be higher as people drowned or were swept away into the waves.
According to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Islamic radical websites, al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack. Experts say that their reason for attacking Ivory Coast, along with other attacks in neighboring countries in recent months, is likely that the extremist group is making their presence known and to keep their group relevant. As ISIS is on the rise and committing horrible terrorist attacks worldwide, al-Qaeda is striving to compete so that would-be recruits don’t lose interest in joining them.
As for choosing Grand-Bassam in Ivory Coast, analysts had warned for months that Ivory Coast could be the next target. In November 2015, al-Qaeda targeted a hotel in the African country of Mali and held over 100 people hostage in the hotel. The attack left 27 people dead. In January of this year, a similar attack at a hotel in Burkina Faso, another African country, occurred that left 29 hotel hostages dead. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for both attacks, and both nations bordered the Ivory Coast. Grand-Bassam itself is a historic city that used to be the capital of Ivory Coast and is a popular tourist destination.
So why, after all of these consecutive attacks that have left dozens of innocent people dead in a matter of months, has the U.S. media not reported heavily on these terrorist strikes in Africa? Likely because the horrible things happening in Africa aren’t the problems of Westerners, at least in the eyes of mainstream media. In the limited coverage of these attacks, nearly every single article noted the Western foreigners that were killed, and didn’t say a word about the local adults and how their families were affected. Why is it that in a country that shouts back at protestors that all lives matter, that significant acts of aggression in many nations is constantly ignored if the acts occurred in countries that we believe don’t concern us? Nearly 100 people are dead in Africa because of al-Qaeda, and the U.S. remains silent.
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