Niger attacks: At least 20 killed in Tillaberi villages

Niger attacks At least 20 killed in Tillaberi villages
A state of emergency has been declared in Tillaberi region since 2017. Source: Getty Images (file photo)
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Daily US Times: Niger authorities confirmed that at least 20 people have been killed in attacks by gunmen in several villages in the country.

Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella, governor of Tillaberi region, said that the assailants were riding motorbikes during the incidents on Saturday.

The unidentified group reportedly stole cattle looted shops and ordered village inhabitants to flee.

Since 2017 a state of emergency has been in place in Tillaberi, which borders Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali.

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are all struggling to cope with a jihadist insurgency, with numerous different militant groups moving between the three countries.

On Sunday, three UN peacekeepers were killed and four wounded in an attack in northern Mali’s Kidal region.

Local media reported quoting eyewitnesses that the latest attacks in Niger took place at about 16:00 local time (15:00 GMT), with gunmen targeting villages including Gadabo and Koira Teguio.

What happened in Mali?

The country is hosting a 13,000-strong UN peacekeeping force, which has been targeted by insurgent groups.

Three Chadian peacekeepers were killed on Sunday when their convoy hit a roadside bomb. No group has claimed responsibility for the deaths, but such explosives are a preferred tactic of jihadis in the area.

Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, said those responsible for what he called a “cowardly terrorist act” must be apprehended and put on trial.

UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, warned last week that jihadist groups in the Sahel were exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to step up attacks.

Combatting militants in the region is seen as important for maintaining security further afield, including Europe. Several African and European countries, along with the US, have set up a military task force to deal with the insurgency.

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