Dozens dead in jihadist attack in western Niger

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A jihadist attack in Niger’s volatile “tri-border” area with Burkina Faso and Mali has killed dozens of members of a self-defense militia, local sources told AFP on Thursday.

The assault took place on Tuesday in Adab-Dab, a village about 55 kilometers (32 miles) from Banibangou in the western Tillabéri region, a source said.

A motorcycle defense force was attacked by “heavily armed ISGS (Islamic State in the Greater Sahara”) members who were also on motorcycles, the source said.

“In all, there are around 60 dead, nine missing and 15 escapees. The mayor of Banibangou is among those killed and his body has been found,” said a deputy from the western area of ​​Tillabéri.

A security source said the attack occurred “Tuesday around 9:30 am” (08:30 GMT).

Another local source confirmed the death toll and said the target of the attack was a local anti-jihadist defense force called the Vigilance Committees, headed by the mayor of Banibangou district.

The attackers left for Mali “taking with them the bodies of their fighters,” the source said.

The defense force was recently put in place by locals following a series of attacks on farm workers in remote fields by highly mobile jihadists, a former mayor said.

The poorest country in the world according to the UN Human Development Index (HDI), Niger faces jihadist insurgencies both on its western border with Mali and on its south-eastern border with Nigeria.

The western insurgency began with incursions in 2015. The bloodshed intensified in 2017, with massacres by groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State.

(AFP)

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