According to internal security service memoranda and a local official, unidentified armed men massacred 37 residents, including 14 children, in an attack on a community in south-west Niger.
The attack took place on Monday in the commune of Banibangou, close the Malian border, in the Tillabery region, where Islamist extremists have slaughtered hundreds of civilians this year.
The administration did not react to demands for comment on the information provided by two security sources and corroborated by a local official who attended the village’s mass funeral.
Armed groups in the Tillabery and Tahoua regions have killed over 420 civilians and driven tens of thousands of others from their homes in 2021, New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch said in an Aug. 11 report.
The attacks are part of a larger struggle in Africa’s Sahel area spanning the frontiers of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, where jihadists linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State are vying for power.
This year has seen a substantial increase in attacks on people in Niger, including some of the most heinous routs in living memory. In March, 137 people were slain in coordinated attacks in the Tahoua district, and over 100 people were killed in the same region as Monday’s attack in January.