At least 10 civilians killed in western Niger

NIAMEY, NIGER (AFP) – Suspected jihadists killed at least 10 civilians in Niger near the border with Mali in the lawless “tri-border” region straddling the two countries and Burkina Faso, local officials said Wednesday (Nov 17).

A town official in Tillia told AFP that the attack on Tuesday in the nearby town of Bakorat left more than 10 dead, while another elected official said the toll was “around 10”.

A third said the “violent clash” pitted gunmen against a self-defence militia in Bakorat.

The death toll may be higher, with the Air Info newspaper referring to around 20 “young civilians” killed.

“The assailants arrived… aboard six 4x4s preceded by several motorbikes,” the paper said, citing a “survivor”.

The world’s poorest country by the benchmark of the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI), Niger is facing Islamist insurgencies both on its western border with Mali and Burkina Faso and on its southeastern frontier with Nigeria.

In March, 141 members of the Tuareg community were massacred in Tahoua, a vast desert region abutting Mali.

Self-defence militias have sprung up in recent weeks.

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