NIAMEY, 16 March 2021 – Unidentified gunmen have killed at least 58 people during an attack in Niger’s Tillaberi region, near the border with neighboring Mali.

The Nigerien government said the assailants opened fire on four vehicles full of people who were returning home from attending a market.

At Least 58 Killed in Niger - Photo The National

58 Killed in Niger – Photo The National

Tillaberi Region - Source AFP

Tillaberi Region – Source AFP

“Groups of armed, [and unidentified] individuals intercepted four vehicles carrying passengers back from the weekly market of Banibangou to the villages of Chinedogar and Darey-Daye,” read a statement from officials in Niamey, Tuesday on state television.

“The death toll from these barbaric acts [is] 58 dead, one injured, a number of grain silos and two vehicles burned, and two more vehicles seized,” the government statement added.

Fifty-eight Killed in Attack by Gunmen in Niger - Photo Teller Report

Fifty-eight Killed in Attack by Gunmen in Niger – Photo Teller Report

Soldiers Shelter in the Shad of a Giant Tree in Niger's Sahel - Photo Yahoo News

Soldiers Shelter in the Shade of a Giant Tree in Niger’s Sahel – Photo Yahoo News

The government of Niger has declared three days of national mourning beginning Wednesday, urging Nigeriens to show “greater vigilance”.

As of Tuesday evening, no group had claimed responsibility for the attack which occurred late Monday.

One of two jihadist groups is suspected of being behind the attack.

The first of the two groups is based in the western part of the country near its common borders with Mali and Burkina Faso.

Nigerien soldiers wait for instructions before attacking a enemy command - Army Photo Richard Bumgardner

Nigerien soldiers await instructions to attack an enemy command post- Photo Richard Bumgardner

The second is based in the southwestern part of the country near the border with Nigeria.

On Tuesday, the government in Niamey reiterated the determination of the government “to relentlessly pursue the fight against criminality in all its forms”.

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