Bamako (AFP) - Mali's special forces have arrested the suspected "Number Two" of a group of Islamists accused of carrying out an attack last month on Ivory Coast's Grand Bassam resort, Malian security sources told AFP Sunday.
Malian national Alou Doumbia, 32, was arrested in the capital, Bamako, on Saturday night, the sources told AFP. He was wanted in connection with his role in a grenade and rifle assault on Grand Bassam's beachfront hotels that left 19 people dead.
"Special forces from Mali's intelligence services carried out the arrest of the Number Two of the organisation behind the terrorist attacks against Ivory Coast during a 'special operation'," one of the sources told AFP under condition of anonymity.
Fifteen people have been detained in connection with what was Ivory Coast's first jihadist attack, later claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in retaliation for anti-terror operations in the Sahel region led by France and its allies.
Doumbia drove the attackers from Mali to Ivory Coast, according to a second security source, and helped the group rig a 4x4 vehicle to hide an arsenal of weapons in the spare tyre well.
The brains of the operation, Kounta Dallah, is still at large, and is suspected of both organising and taking part in the attack, as well as appointing Doumbia to his role.