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Massacre in Niger as gunmen kill 12 field workers

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A group of armed gunmen launched a deadly attack on two villages, leaving 12 people dead. The assault took place in the Anzourou district and was reported by local sources and security officials to the AFP on Friday.

According to a municipal official in the region, the attack occurred on Thursday afternoon, claiming the lives of 12 male individuals who were working in the fields. The victims hailed from the neighboring villages of Doukou Saraou and Doukou Makani, located merely half a mile apart.

Although the security source confirmed the occurrence of the attacks, they refrained from disclosing the exact death toll. The Tillaberi region, characterized by its arid and unstable conditions, lies at the tri-border zone where Mali, Burkina Faso, and southwestern Niger converge. This area has been notorious for insurgent activity, with groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State taking advantage of the region’s porous borders..

Despite efforts to curb the violence, including a state of emergency and the deployment of significant anti-jihadist forces, such attacks remain distressingly common. French soldiers have been collaborating with Nigerien forces in Tillaberi as both nations work together to counter the growing insurgency.

The United Nations recently reported a surge in displacement in southwestern Niger, with almost 11,000 people fleeing their homes this month alone. The Tillaberi region currently shelters approximately 150,000 internally displaced individuals, as stated by the UN.

The Anzourou district has previously faced similar acts of brutality, with multiple villages falling victim to attacks carried out by gunmen on motorbikes between May 2020 and August 2021, resulting in dozens of casualties.

Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, continues to grapple with longstanding jihadist violence in its southeastern regions, which spills over from neighboring Nigeria. The government faces immense challenges in ensuring the safety and security of its citizens in the face of these persistent threats.

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