Gunmen have killed at least 12 people at a beach resort in southern Ivory Coast on Sunday, the BBC reports. The assailants reportedly fired on beachgoers in the town of Grand-Bassam, about 25 miles east of capital city Abidjan.
The Daily Mail reports that footage from a hotel balcony showed people running for their lives as the shooters tried to gun down unarmed vacationers. Graphic images showed seven dead bodies scattered across the beach of the resort.
Reports say that several French nationals may have been killed in the deadly attack, with witnesses describing how the gunmen arrived on the beach via a boat armed with machine guns and hand grenades.
A witness told Agence France-Presse that “heavily armed men wearing balaclavas” had opened fire near the L’Etoile du Sud hotel, which was full of expats in the current heatwave.
According to the BBC, Ivory Coast was seen as a model of stability in West Africa until a civil war erupted in 2002.The conflict pitted the mainly Muslim north against the largely Christian south. Since then, peace deals have alternated with renewed violence.
Luxury hotels were targeted by such groups in Mali in November and Burkina Faso in January.