NIAMEY, 22 March 2021 – At least 40 people were killed Sunday in attacks by suspected militant in Niger’s western Tahoua region, officials said Monday.
The victims were killed in a series of attacks targeting the villages of Intazayene, Bakorate, as well as Wirstane and camps near Akifakif.
The communities hit are all located near the border with Mali, according to the online news portal Actu Niger.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but accusing fingers are pointed at militants linked to the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) who have been operating in the area for years.
The series of attacks in Tahoua come barely a week after nearly 60 civilians were killed in Tillaberi’s Banibangou locality near the border with Mali.
More than 100 civilians were killed in another series of unclaimed attacks in two villages in Tillaberi during the campaigns for the second round of presidential elections last February.
On day of the presidential election run-off last February 21, seven polling agents were killed in the explosion of an improvised explosive device (IED) in the same region.
Sunday’s attacks came only hours after Niger’s constitutional court validated the election of Mohamed Bazoum as president-elect of the west African sahelien nation.
The outgoing president of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou decried the attacks, calling them “barbaric”.
“Everything is being done to ensure that these crimes do not go unpunished,” Issoufou said in his message of condolences to the families of victims and residents of Tillia.
The message was posted Monday on his official twitter account.
According to Actu Niger, armed confrontations broke out Monday between the suspected militants and soliders of the Nigerien army who were deployed to the area to help restore peace and security.
Incoming President Bazoum is going to under enormous pressure to address insecurity in the volatile regions of Tahoua and Tillaberi, as well as in the Diffa region where militants affiliated to al-Qaeda’s Sahel group and Nigeria’s Boko Haram groups have operated for years.