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File picture of Nigerien soldiers patrolling outside Diffa airport in South East Niger. File picture of Nigerien soldiers patrolling outside Diffa airport in South East Niger. 

Gunmen kill 37, including children, in Niger village.

Gunmen kill 37, including 14 children, in attack on village in southwest Niger.

Reuters – Niamey, Niger.

Unidentified armed men have killed 37 civilians, including 14 children, in an attack on a village in southwest Niger, according to internal security service memos and a local official.

The attack occurred on Monday in the commune of Banibangou, in the Tillabery region near the Malian border, where Islamist militants have massacred hundreds of civilians this year.

The government did not respond to requests for comment on the information shared by two security sources and confirmed by a local official who attended a mass funeral in the village.

The terror of armed gangs in the Sahel

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 11 August report.

The attacks are part of a wider conflict spanning the borderlands of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger in Africa's Sahel region where jihadists linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State are seeking to take control.

Niger alone has seen a sharp rise in attacks on civilians this year, including some of the worst routs in living memory. In March, attackers killed 137 in coordinated raids in the Tahoua region and in January over 100 people were killed in the same region as Monday's attack.

18 August 2021, 09:58