” This is a terrorist attack “, let go of the Defence minister, Hamed Bakayoko, also acting Prime minister, during a press briefing on the same day of the deadly attack against an army post in the north, to the border with Burkina Faso, Thursday, June 11. Even if the authorities want to be reassuring, there is no longer any doubt that the threat of jihadist is stronger towards the countries of the gulf of Guinea in general, and Côte d’ivoire in particular. It is the first attack on ivorian soil since the attack of Grand-Bassam in 2016 (19 people), while neighboring countries – Mali, Burkina faso and Niger – suffer an increase in violent jihadist for several years. But mostly this attack comes at a time when ivorian forces and burkinabées to jointly conduct an operation against jihadists who are hiding near the Comoé river, which flows between the two countries. In the ivorian authorities, the example of Burkina Faso, led by the spiral jihadist for five years, is in all the heads.

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An attack of unprecedented magnitude

The assault led Thursday by jihadis to Kafolo of a position joint army-gendarmerie has made “a dozen of the dead” among the military, according to the official report. To the difference of the attack of Grand-Bassam, the work of suicide bombers who had opened fire against civilians on the beach and the terraces of the hotel of the resort, the attack of Kafolo has been signed by both fighters, battle-hardened against a military target.

” The response will be to the extent of the attack. Côte d’ivoire has the means to cope. It has demonstrated in the past. I can assure you that the level of organization of our forces is such that their response will be quick, ” said Thursday the minister of Defence, Hamed Bakayoko.

The country had regained since 2011 a certain stability, after a decade of unrest, and had recovered its position as a heavyweight economic and political development of the West Africa.

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The Katiba Macina and other

It started a bit like that, in Burkina faso. The authorities minimize the extent of the threat. This is very worrying, writes Mahoumoudou Kimsey, a researcher specialist of jihadism. If the ” jihadists have attacked an army post, it is that they were equipped and trained. They knew the area. They can do it again ” in a political context marked by the presidential election of October.

for him, as For the researcher Lassina Diarra, author of The economic Community of African States West (Ecowas) in response to transnational terrorism, the Katiba Macina, a group jihadist of malian origin, is trying to settle in the area known as the three borders (Mali, Burkina faso, Côte d’ivoire), and lorgnerait even Ghana.

The Katiba Macina, created in 2015 by the preacher of mali Amadou Kufa, is affiliated with the Group of support to islam and muslims (GSIM), which has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda. However, it is the operation ” Comoé “, launched jointly by the armed forces of côte d’ivoire and burkina faso in may to dislodge the jihadists from the area, which seems to have triggered the attack on Thursday.

“there was a hornets’ nest that has been disturbed. It stings, but it is logical, ” notes another safe source. “We can say that this part of the Côte d’ivoire was, until then, a kind of sanctuary for the jihadists “, says Lassina Diarra.

” there are fighters jihadists experienced. The ivorian army seems to have more capabilities than some others in the area, but, without collaboration with other countries, it will be difficult “, in a context of porous borders.

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A fight that promises to be long

A military source nuance the rise to power of the ivorian army : “efforts have probably been made. But there were ten dead against an assailant killed, less than 15 days after operations of the fights in this red zone. The soldiers had to be prepared and sharpened. Why the balance sheet is it so heavy ? “

To combat the attempts of implantation in the north of the jihadists, a source highly placed recently assured AFP that measures of surveillance of mosques and preachers had been taken, even in isolated areas, such as Kafolo.

She also noted that the government had, in the context of a better meshing of the territory, opened or rehabilitated many police stations and gendarmeries across the country. Another important topic is the presence or non-combatants from ivory coast among the forces of the jihadists. “For the moment, there does not seem to have them, or little “, according to Lassina Diarra. “Most jihadism is endogenous, the more it is hard to fight. It is not necessary to hope to uproot it in 15 days of the years of implantation, ” warns Mahoumoudou Kimsey.

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