The long-awaited trial of 18 suspects believed to behind a 2016 attack by al-Qaeda gunman in the Ivorian town of Grand-Bassam is due to get underway next week.

Nineteen people, including four French citizens, died in the incident and dozens others were wounded.

The attack took place at the Etoile du Sud hotel in the seaside resort, which is located some 40 kilometres east of Côte d’Ivoire’s economic capital, Abidjan.

Three young assailants stormed the beach, popular with locals and foreigners, firing Kalashnikovs at people before being shot dead by Ivorian security forces.

Charges against them

A source told the AFP news agency that the 18 suspects due to appear in court next week stand accused of ‘acts of terrorism in association with a collective organisation’.

The assault was the first of its kind in Côte d’Ivoire, and was believed to have been in retaliation to anti-jihadist operations carried out by France and its allies in the Sahel region.

It severely impacted the country’s tourism industry which had already been weakened by years of post-election crises.

Judicial sources say the trial will likely run until 22 December.

Source: Africanews

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