Local officials say as many as 60 people were killed in latest violent incident in Niger’s ‘tri-border’ zone with Burkina Faso and Mali.
Dozens of people have been killed in an attack this week on a village in southwestern Niger’s Tillaberi region, according to local sources quoted by news agencies.
A local source told AFP news agency on Thursday the assault took place Tuesday at Adab-Dab, a village about 55 kilometres (32 miles) from Banibangou in the western region of Tillaberi. 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 said.
The attack was the latest in Niger’s “tri-border” zone with Burkina Faso and Mali, 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.
Another source also said the target of the attack was a local defence force called the Vigilance Committees, which was headed by the mayor of Banibangou district, according to AFP. The assailants headed off back to Mali “taking the bodies of their fighters with them”, the source added.
“In all, there are about 60 dead, nine missing and 15 escaped. The mayor of Banibangou is among those who were killed and his body has been recovered,” an unidentified politician in the Tillaberi area was quoted as saying by AFP.
Two local officials confirmed the death toll to the Reuters news agency. Zakari Karidjo, the deputy of the department of Banibangou, said that there was a clash and that there were losses on both sides.
There was no claim of responsibility for the attack.