January 30, 2024

22 people killed in attack in western Niger

22 people killed in attack in western Niger

Suspected jihadists killed 22 people in an attack on a village in western Niger near the border with Mali, local sources told AFP on Monday.

The Sunday attack targeted the village of Motogatta in the vast Tillaberi region where Niger meets Mali and Burkina Faso, and where jihadist groups have been active for years.

“Unfortunately, 22 people died in the attack, including some self-defence militiamen,” a local elected official said.

The toll was confirmed by a resident of a nearby town.

The official said that the attackers arrived on motorbikes in the village around 4 pm (1500 GMT).

“They started shooting, killing people on the spot,” he said.

Niger is battling two jihadist insurgencies — a spillover in its southeast from a long-running conflict in neighbouring Nigeria, and an offensive in the west by militants crossing from Mali and Burkina Faso.

When military leaders overthrew democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, they cited the deterioration of the security situation in the country as justification.

On December 17, coup leader General Abdourahamane Tiani said the security situation was “progressively normalising” after the army’s “multiple successes” in quelling unrest.