100 people were killed in attacks on two villages in western Niger, in what may be the worst massacre of civilians in the country, amid presidential elections that resulted in the victory of ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum, former interior minister.
Niger’s Prime Minister Brigi Rafini confirmed the toll in statements broadcast on national television on Sunday, during his visit to the region near the border with Mali, without revealing who was responsible for the attacks.
On Monday, the outgoing President, Muhammadu Issufu, is supervising an emergency meeting of the National Security Council. He tweeted, “My warmest condolences to the residents of Choma Bangu and Zarumadari for the cowardly and barbaric attack on their villages.”
“We have just returned from the scene of the attacks,” said Almu Hassan, official in the Tillaberi district, where the two villages are located. “The death toll in Choma Bangu has reached 70, and in Zaromadari to 30”, speaking of “terrorists who arrived with about 100 motorcycles.”
“There are also 25 wounded, some of whom have been taken to Niamey and to a mother for treatment,” he added.
Attack in broad daylight
“To attack the two villages (which are 7 kilometers away from each other), the attackers split into two teams, one of whom attacked Zaromadari and the other Chuma Bangu, said Hassan.
The two villages are located about 120 km north of the capital Niamey, in the Tillaberi region, on the borders with Mali and Burkina Faso, and “jihadist groups” have regularly targeted this area for years.
An official in the Tillaberi region said that the attack took place in broad daylight (11:00 GMT) on the same day to announce the results of the presidential elections, which were won by a large margin (39.33%), the ruling party’s candidate, Muhammad Bazum, a former interior minister who promised to strengthen the fight against these groups. .
In a video, Bazoum affirmed his sympathy with the residents who have been exposed to this “tragedy, which reminds that terrorist groups pose a serious threat to the unity of our societies.”
Since 2011, the country has been suffering from attacks that have intensified since 2015, especially in the west (near Mali) where ISIS is located, and in the southeast bordering Lake Chad and Nigeria, the area that has become a stronghold of the Nigerian Boko Haram group.
At the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, attacks targeting camps in Inatz and then in Shinigodar, which was claimed by ISIS, killed 160 soldiers, shocking the country.