Several gunmen attacked three beach hotels in the historic town of Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast, killing at least 12 people, police said on Sunday.
Four Westerners were among the dead, police spokesman Bredou M'Bia told dpa.
The assailants have not yet been identified and there have been no claims of responsibility.
"It is too early to say whether we are dealing with a terrorist attack," Interior Minister Ahmed Bakayoko said, adding however that the modus operandi matched that of similar attacks in other parts of the world.
Grand-Bassam, some 40 kilometres south-east of the economic capital Abidjan, is popular with both Ivorians and foreigners.
The hotels La Paillote, Etoile du Sud and Koral Beach are "where Westerners stay when they come to Bassam beach to have fun. It's their favorite place," said tourist guide and eyewitness Sekou Diarra.
"One of the gunmen I saw was dressed up like a jihadist, with a long robe and beard," Diarra said.
A source at the University Teaching Hospital of Treichville in Abidjan said: "More than 20 severely injured people have been transported here by ambulances and we are trying to do what we can to save their lives."
Bassam resident Martial Konandi said earlier, "We are afraid since no authority is giving us clear and precise information about what is going on. We still hear gunshots. And the only thing the authorities are saying is that the fight is going on and that we should stay at home."