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June 22, 2024

‘Bandits’ kill one person, kidnap five in Niger raid

bandits

Armed “bandits” killed one person and kidnapped five others in a raid on convoy carrying a regional official in northern Niger, the interior ministry said Saturday.

Attackers in two vehicles ambushed the convoy carrying the prefect for the city of Bilma who was returning from an official appointment on Friday, a ministry statement said.

One member of the delegation was killed in the raid about 17 kilometres (10 miles) north of Bilma, and another was seriously wounded and five were kidnapped, the ministry added.

The ministry did not name those taken but press reports said the Bilma prefect, Amadou Torda, was among those seized.

The attack was not immediately claimed and the ministry said Niger’s military was seeking the assailants.

Bilma, more than 1,300 kilometres north of Niamey, is in a vast desert region known for bandit attacks and the smuggling of migrants, arms and drugs.

In February, eight soldiers were killed. A May 4 attack on an army position near Bilma was claimed by the Patriotic Liberation Front that supports Mohamed Bazoum, the president overthrown by Niger’s military rulers in July last year.