Niger’s government says 69 people were killed in the latest violent attack in Niger’s ‘tri-border zone with Burkina Faso and Mali.
The violence took place earlier this week near Banibangou, about 155 miles (250 kilometres) north of the capital, Niamey, a volatile area that has been the epicentre of a years-long conflict between state forces in the western portion of Africa’s Sahel region and armed groups linked to ISIL (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. The assault was the latest in Niger’s “tri-border” zone with Burkina Faso and Mali,
The town’s mayor was among those killed in the Tuesday attack with 15 members of the village defence group sustaining various degrees of injuries, according to a statement from the ministry.
A local source identified the site of the attack as the village of Adab-Dab. A motorcycle-borne defence force was attacked by “heavily-armed members of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS)”, who were also on motorbikes, the source told the AFP news agency.
Another source also said the target of the attack was a local defence force called the Vigilance Committees. The assailants headed off back to Mali “taking the bodies of their fighters with them”, the source added.
Armed groups have killed more than 530 people in attacks on civilians in the frontier regions of southwest Niger this year, over five times more than in all of 2020, according to data provided by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a consultancy which tracks political violence.
In August, militants attacked in the same area, killing 37 people. Last month, 10 people were killed when militants attacked a mosque in Banibangou during prayer time.