Niger was again the target on Tuesday of attacks by suspected jihadists that killed 58 people in the west of the country, near Mali, the first violence since the election of President Mohamed Bazoum on February 21st.

These individuals cowardly and cruelly carried out the targeted execution of the passengers and set fires killing more people

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The Tillabéri region, located on the border between Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, is a regular victim of terrorist attacks. On Tuesday, armed groups targeted villagers returning from a local market.

Niger was again the target on Tuesday of attacks by suspected jihadists that killed 58 people in the west of the country, near Mali, the first violence since the election of President Mohamed Bazoum on February 21st.

On Monday, “in the afternoon, groups of unidentified armed individuals intercepted four vehicles carrying passengers returning from the weekly market of Banibangou from the villages of Chinégodar and Darey-Daye respectively,” a government statement read on state television said on Tuesday evening.

“These individuals cowardly and cruelly carried out the targeted execution of the passengers. In Darey-daye’s village, they killed people and set fire to “granaries” cereals, he adds.

These were people who had come to the market in Banibangou and were heading towards Chinégodar. A local elected official and a prefectural source said they were“aware of the attacks” but could not provide a statement or the attacks’ circumstances.

Other attacks targeting villages were carried out on Monday evening at around 18:00 local time (17:00 GMT) by“armed bandits,” causing“about 30 deaths”, according to a security source.

There was no immediate confirmation of these attacks by the government.

The government declared a “three-day national mourning” from Wednesday and called on “the population to be more vigilant,” reaffirming “its determination to continue the fight against crime in all its forms.”

The ‘three borders’ zone, an unstable territory

Banibangou is home to one of the critical weekly markets in the area, close to the Malian border. Located in the so-called“three borders” between Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali, the Tillabéri region has for years been the scene of bloody actions by jihadist groups. It remains unstable despite extensive efforts to try to secure it.

On January 2nd, 100 people were killed in attacks on two villages in the mangaïzé commune in the region, one of the worst massacres of civilians in Niger, between the two rounds of the presidential election. A year earlier, on January 9th, 2020, 89 Nigerien soldiers were killed in the Chinegodar military camp attack.

And a month earlier, on December 10th, 2019, 71 Nigerien soldiers were killed in Inates, another town in the Tillabéri region. The two attacks that had traumatized the country had been claimed by jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group. Source: Le Figaro 

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