(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message expressing his condolences and his spiritual closeness to the people of Ivory Coast after gunmen opened fire on holiday-goers at a popular beach resort in Grand-Bassam east of the commercial capital Abidjan.
In a telegram to Bishop Raymond Ahoua F. D. P. of Grand Bassam, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said “Upon hearing the news of the heinous attack in Grand-Bassam, His Holiness Pope Francis presents condolences to the bereaved and assures the injured his spiritual closeness.”
15 civilians and three members of the country's special forces were killed and 33 people wounded in the attack by alleged Islamist extremists. Three of the attackers were also killed.
The message further states that the Holy Father “entrusts the victims to the mercy of God to welcome them into his peace and light.”
Expressing his sadness for the suffering of the Ivorian people, the message continues, “the Holy Father again condemns violence and hatred in all forms. In a sign of consolation, he invokes an abundance of divine blessings on the Ivory Coast and all the families affected by this tragedy.”