April 17, 2016 / 12:42 PM / 4 years ago

Mali arrests third man in connection with Ivory Coast beach attack

A police cordon is seen while Ivorian police prepare to inspect the area of the hotel Etoile du Sud following an attack by gunmen from al Qaeda's North African branch, in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast, March 14, 2016. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Authorities in Mali have arrested a third man believed to be linked to last month’s deadly al Qaeda attack on a beach resort in neighbouring Ivory Coast, military officials said on Sunday.

Gunmen shot swimmers and sunbathers before storming hotels in the town of Grand Bassam, killing 19 people 40 km (25 miles) from the commercial capital, Abidjan, on March 13.

One source said Alou Doumbia was arrested on Saturday in the Malian capital of Bamako and suspected of driving the gunmen from Mali to Ivory Coast.

A second police source confirmed the arrest but was unable to provide further detail.

Saturday’s arrest was the third reported in Mali linked to the Grand Bassam attacks, that were claimed by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Islamist group’s North African branch..

Eleven Ivorians, including three special forces’ soldiers, died in the attack. Four French citizens were killed and other foreign victims included citizens of Germany, Lebanon, Macedonia and Nigeria.

Ivory Coast authorities have also arrested 15 people and say the ringleader, who they named as Kounta Dallah, was still at large.

A spokesman for the Mali security services was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting By Tiemoko Diallo, writing by Edward McAllister

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