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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast – One year after Islamic extremists attacked an Ivory Coast beach resort and made clear their reach was growing in West Africa, this nation has tightened its security but still feels some economic pain.
Police patrols continue along the Grand Bassam beach where 19 were killed and 33 wounded, including tourists and special forces members, on March 13, 2016. Armed guards now walk the shores watching for suspicious movement, and the streets are monitored by special units at strategic points.
"We fear this type of attack will happen again," said Amadou Sangare, a local craftsman.
Ivory Coast marked a year after the attack with a walk of silence to pay respect to victims.
"The people have not backed down no matter the situation, we must continue to stand," Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan said.
But there has been a marked downturn in tourism and hotel rooms are about 50 percent full, according to the Ivory Coast Tourism board.
National Prosecutor Richard Christophe Adou said the country is on the right path in terms of security.
"The investigation into the attack is progressing. It has already led to the arrest of 38 people in total, including 26 in Ivory Coast, six in Burkina Faso, four in Mali and two in Senegal," he said.
Only one assailant with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the extremist group that claimed responsibility for the attack, remains at large, Adou said.