Follow Us:
Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Ivory Coast boosts port security over attack threat

The decision comes amid a regional maritime exercise sponsored by the US military's Africa Command and little more than a year after al Qaeda militants attacked an Ivory Coast beach resort

By: Reuters | Abidjan |
March 26, 2017 10:02:54 pm
File Photo, Oct. 23, 2015, Ivory Coast troops provide security during an election rally of Ivory Coast incumbent President Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File)

Ivory Coast has ordered increased security at its two main ports after receiving information indicating a threat of “probable terrorist attacks” on its national territory, according to a transport ministry document seen by Reuters on Sunday. The decision comes amid a regional maritime exercise — known as Obangame Express — sponsored by the U.S. military’s Africa Command and little more than a year after al Qaeda militants attacked an Ivory Coast beach resort.

The document, dated March 24 and verified as authentic by a senior Ivorian maritime security official, did not give further detail on the specific nature of the threat but it increased security under the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code to level two, indicating a higher than normal threat level requiring tightened security both in ports and on ships.

“Security level two will apply for an undetermined duration, beginning from Friday March 24,” the document stated. The measures apply to the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro, both important hubs for West African imports and exports, notably of cocoa. Ivory Coast is the world’s biggest cocoa producer.

Ivory Coast’s head of maritime security was not immediately reachable for comment. Government spokesman Bruno Kone said he was not aware of the increased security measures. Nearly 20 African nations are participating in the Obangame Express training exercises, most of which are to take place offshore of Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan.

In addition to its U.S. military sponsor, other international participants include Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Turkey, France, Denmark, Canada, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Ivory Coast has been a staunch ally of the West in the fight against the growing threat of Islamist militancy in West Africa and its arid Sahel region, making it a declared target for reprisals by groups including al Qaeda.

Militants from al Qaeda’s North African branch stormed the Ivorian beach resort town of Grand Bassam on March 13 last year, gunning down swimmers and sunbathers in an attack that killed 19 people.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App.

  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by