Kounta Dallah is the alleged mastermind of the March 13, 2016, attack on a beach resort in Côte d’Ivoire. The attack, claimed by al-Qaeda’s North African affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), consisted of gunmen opening fire on beachgoers in the southeastern town of Grand-Bassam, killing at least 19 people.“Mali arrests third man in connection with Ivory Coast beach attack,” Reuters, April 17, 2016, http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKCN0XE0NJ. On March 22, 2016, Dallah was named as the mastermind of the Grand-Bassam attack during a joint conference held by state prosecutors and the country’s Minister of State and Minister of the Interior.Ange Aboa, “UPDATE 2-Ivory Coast arrests 15, seeks leader of al Qaeda beach attack,” Reuters, March 22, 2016, http://af.reuters.com/article/cameroonNews/idAFL5N16U5RI.
During the conference, state prosecutor Christophe Richard Adou said there was no question Dallah was at the scene of the crime.“Kounta Dallah, le présumé cerveau de l’attaque terroriste de Grand-Bassam,” AIP, March 22, 2016, http://aip.ci/kounta-dalla-le-cerveau-de-lattaque-terroriste-de-grand-bassam/. Though the prosecutor released Dallah’s name and photo, officials were hesitant to disclose details on Dallah’s age, nationality, residence, and place of birth.“Côte d’Ivoire: le suspect principal de l'attentat de Grand-Bassam identifié,” RFI Afrique, March 22, 2016, http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20160322-cote-ivoire-grand-bassam-attaque-suspect-kounta-dallah-terrorisme.
Since the attacks, Ivorian authorities have arrested 15 people, two of whom stand accused of hosting Dallah.“Kounta Dallah, le présumé cerveau de l’attaque terroriste de Grand-Bassam,” AIP, March 22, 2016, http://aip.ci/kounta-dalla-le-cerveau-de-lattaque-terroriste-de-grand-bassam/. Neighboring Mali has arrested three suspects in connection to the attacks.“Mali arrests third man in connection with Ivory Coast beach attack,” Reuters, April 17, 2016, http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKCN0XE0NJ.
On March 25, 2016, Dallah was falsely reported to have been arrested, when a man who purportedly looked like Dallah was stopped by security forces while traveling to Port Bouet, a suburb of Abidjan. The man was cleared of charges soon after his arrest.“Urgent Urgent Urgent – Kounta Dallah aurait été arrêté vendredi dans un car de transport à Port Bouët : Kounta Dallah, présumé cerveau de l’attentat terroriste de Grand Bassam, aurait été arrêté selon une source sécuritaire (25/03),” Ivoirebusiness.net, March 25, 2016, http://www.ivoirebusiness.net/breves/urgent-urgent-urgent-%E2%80%93-kounta-dallah-aurait-%C3%A9t%C3%A9-arr%C3%AAt%C3%A9-vendredi-dans-un-car-de-transport-%C3%A0; “Attaque de Bassam: L'homme arrêté ne serait pas Kunta Dallah,” Ivoirebusiness.net, March 26, 2016, http://www.ivoirebusiness.net/articles/attaque-de-bassam-lhomme-arr%C3%AAt%C3%A9-ne-serait-pas-kunta-dallah.
Dallah remains at large. A manhunt for him is ongoing.
- Extremist entity
- Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
- Type(s) of Organization:
- Insurgent, non-state actor, religious, terrorist, transnational, violent
- Ideologies and Affiliations:
- Al-Qaeda affiliated group, Islamist, jihadist, Qutbist, Salafist, Sunni, takfiri
- Ringleader, prime suspect in the March 13, 2016, Côte d’Ivoire attacks
Al-Qaeda’s North African branch, AQIM, operates in Algeria, Mali, Niger, Libya, Mauritania, and Tunisia. The group has executed numerous violent attacks in North and West Africa. The group is also known for its extensive history of kidnapping and extortion.