Ivory Coast Comes Under Attack
Open Doors field workers in West Africa report that at least 22 people have been confirmed dead and 22 injured in the Islamic militant attack on the beach resort of Grand Bassam 25 miles from the commercial capital, Abidjan, on Sunday, March 11. Reuters reported that “witnesses said the gunmen followed a pathway onto the beach where they then opened fire on swimmers and sunbathers before turning their attention to the packed seafront hotels where people were eating and drinking at lunchtime.” Al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack.
Field workers warned earlier that the country has come under increasing pressure from radical groups. Ansar Dine terrorists warned that an attack was imminent.
The government has announced three days of mourning following the horrific attack; they also promised to boost security, according to BBC. Local Open Doors workers report apprehension among churches following the attacks, “There is a sense of fear and uncertainty,” reported a pastor from the second largest city of Bouake. “Many church leaders told us they did not know how to respond to these attacks. Some think that if these terrorists are able to operate in a city like Bassam which is supposed to be well protected because of its tourist sites, then it can happen anywhere.” According to him, some pastors in the city already think they will cancel some programs that were planned for the Passover. They feel Christians should not take the attack lightly.”
Father, we are in sorrow over those who died so tragically this month in Ivory Coast and pray Your comfort over those who mourn their loss. We pray comfort and healing for those who lie in hospital beds, healing from their physical injuries and replaying the horror of the day. Comfort them, Father, and heal them, body and soul. As church leaders consider how to respond, grant them wisdom. Pour out Your grace on all Your church there; encourage and strengthen them to continue living out the gospel especially now in the midst of the radical change in their reality. We pray, too, for the government, that You will guide them in ways to end this reign of terror. And, we pray that as the entire nation mourns this heart-rending event that affected not only believers, but others as well, You will open the eyes of many to turn their hearts toward You, both for comfort and to follow Christ as Savior and Lord. In the name of Jesus, who comforts the brokenhearted, Amen.