Many thanks to the Afropop fans and colleagues who have been contacting us about whether Georges and I were safe following the terrorist jihadist attack Sunday in Grand Bassam, a popular beach resort some 25 miles from Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Both of us flew out on Saturday night, and we’re safely home. But one of our Afropop correspondents was on the beach at that time and heard the shooting nearby. We have yet to hear from him directly, but someone who heard from him reported that our contributor thought he was about to die. Fortunately, he did not. But 16 people—foreigners and locals—were killed, some in very brutal ways. One local boy was shot dead because he couldn’t speak Arabic. The cold-blooded attack was claimed by AQIM (Al Qaeda of the Islamic Mahgreb), the same group behind recent hotel attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso. The strategy seems to be to target West African tourism, the lifeblood of so many throughout the region.
Afropop Worldwide sends our solidarity to the people of Cote d’Ivoire. You have shown your resilience through serious national traumas in the past and we know you will survive this devastating, senseless incident. During the MASA arts festival this past week, we were fortunate to meet many highly accomplished Ivorian musicians, dancers, choreographers, producers, promoters, sound engineers, journalists, humorists and others. Thank you for your warm hospitality, and we wish you the best in getting through this dark time.
Photo by Peter DiCampo