Gunmen attack and kill 37 people in village in Niger – World Peace Organization
Last week, a group of unidentified gunmen entered a village in southwestern Niger, killing 37 people, including 14 children. The attack occurred in the commune of Banibangou in the Tillaberi region, near the Malian border. In this region, there have been numerous violent assaults by Islamist militants against civilians in the past year alone. These continued attacks in the Tillabéri and Tahou regions of Niger point to the wider conflict spreading to neighboring countries of Burkina Faso and Mali in the Sahel region of Africa, where jihadists linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State is trying to take control of the region. . The country of Niger is already trying to recover from the sharp increase in attacks on civilians that occurred last year alone. If Niger is unable to curb the continued massacres of civilians, the insecurity and violence in the region will only worsen, causing adverse effects not only in Niger but throughout the Sahel region of Africa.
Western Niger has faced violent and intense attacks directly against villagers in the region. The recent attack on civilians in the village in southwestern Niger saw unidentified snipers arrive on motorcycles to open fire directly on people working in the fields. A local journalist told AFP about the events of the attack, saying: “They found people in the fields and shot at anything that moved.” It is important to note that the recent attack in Niger is only one of many attacks against the civilian population. According to a Human Rights Watch report, at least 420 civilians were murdered in jihad attacks in the Tillabéri and Tahoua regions last year. It was pointed out by Corinne Dufka, Sahel director for Human Rights Watch, that “armed Islamist groups seem to be waging war against the civilian population in western Niger”. These militant Islamist groups have targeted people with disabilities and children while destroying schools and churches, prompting more civilians to flee the area.
The government responded to the massacre in the village of Banibangou by calling for a two-day period of national mourning for the 37 people murdered by unidentified rebels. In addition to this national commemoration of the victims, the government of Niger has said it will continue to fight terrorism in the region while urging the population to remain vigilant during the difficult times. However, the strong commitment of the government of Niger to stop these terrorist attacks has not materialized in an adequate fight against the continuing slaughter of the civilian population. The situation has only worsened and now over 100,000 people in the region have been displaced along with over 520,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance.
The Banibangou area where the village is located is located in the region known as the “three borders” where the lands of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali merge. This area has recently seen an increase in the number of attacks. The region has been said to have given Al Qaeda and Daesh terrorists and rebels more opportunities to mobilize and plan attacks against civilians. In particular, the Tillaberi region has seen more rebels in recent times being able to operate freely despite strict government control in the region. The government has attempted to further increase security in the tri-border region; however, massacres of civilians continue, with armed men on motorcycles leading the attacks and then fleeing to Mali after their violent attacks.
The murder of 37 people in the village in southwestern Niger is a tragic and disheartening event that continues to befall civilians in the region. This latest attack on civilians is a testament to the daily violence in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. Insecurity throughout the tri-border region only increases with each terrorist attack against civilians. In these conflict-affected areas, important infrastructure such as schools, health facilities and protection services were also attacked by rebel groups. If the government does not increase its presence in the region, the conflict will only worsen, making humanitarian aid much more difficult to those in need.