After France admonished both Senegal and the Ivory Coast about impending terrorist attacks, both countries are working to secure their respective cities, reports Bloomberg.
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Last Friday, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack (pictured above) of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s Splendid Hotel, killing 30 people.
AQIM is also behind the attack at Bamako, Mali’s Radisson Blu (pictured below), where more than 20 people were killed by militants.
This week, France warned Senegal and the Ivory Coast that they are next on AQIM’s hit list, after intercepted wire taps as recent as December revealed that terrorists are looking to target beaches and popular tourist attractions with car bombs in both nations.
The United States also reportedly intercepted messages about terror attacks, prompting them to advise its nationals in Dakar and Abidjan to avoid tourist hubs and public spaces.
International Crisis Group analyst Cynthia Ohayon says, “[Militants] are already extending their scope beyond their usual stronghold, and there is no reason why they would not continue in the rest of the region.”
In response, Senegal’s interior minister told local media that any hotels in the city that failed to improve their security would be forced to close.
The Ivory Coast, on the other hand, will partner with United Nations’ peacekeepers to stage a mock attack in order to test its preparedness.
In light of the impending violence, Ohayon voiced concerns about Senegal’s and Ivory Coast’s ability to thwart the terror attacks, “The question is, will they be efficient enough and fast enough. It also remains to be seen whether the intelligence services of these countries have sufficient means to prevent such an attack.”
AQIM is an unfortunate outgrowth of Muammar Qaddafi’s assassination in Libya in 2011. Once Qaddafi was deposed, the militants moved to northern Mali, attacking army positions. Two years later, they were pushed out of Mali by French forces.
Now the terrorist group has turned its sights to the rest of French-speaking West Africa in retaliation for France’s 3,000 troops in the area.