Honouring the Lives Lost in Tragic Violence
Three days of mourning in the Republic of Niger as announced Monday by the Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum. In addition to the reinforcement of security in the border area with Mali.
This comes two days after the reported deadliest jihadist attack in the Sahel nation that saw the murder of one hundred civilians in two villages in the Western part of the country.
The Nigerien Prime Minister shared the current state of affairs.
“There are already precautionary measures that have been announced so that the populations of these villages can be protected in the best possible conditions. We have noted that the village of Zaroumadareye has already left, the people have left their village. Here also in Tchoma Bangou, a large part of the population has relocated.”
The minister also announced the holding of forums to ease tensions between communities and the donation of food to affected populations.
No official claim was made after the attack, which occurred between the two presidential election rounds and has been labelled as the heaviest toll of an attack against civilians attributed to jihadists by the non-governmental organisation The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project NGO (ACLED) which records the violence in the region.
Jihadist Insurgency in the Sahel region
The attack took place in the area known as the “three borders” — an area that sees the borders of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, the main countries affected by jihadist groups affiliated to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State Organisation.
Along with the laying of artisanal mines, these motorbike blitz attacks are the preferred modus operandi of jihadists in this region which for several years has become one of the epicentres of violence in the Sahel.
2019-early 2020, the military presence is considered weak despite many efforts undertaken last year by the national armies assisted by some international partners.
Thousands of civilians have been killed and nearly 3 million have had to flee their homes. So-called self-defence groups are responsible for several massacres of civilians, such as in Ogossagou in central Mali in March 2019 (more than 160 dead).
The jihadist violence has been added to community tensions, particularly “for several years” on the border between Mali and Niger, the scene of “rivalries between communities for control of space”, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).
In the same border strip between Mali and Niger, seven Nigerien soldiers were killed on 21 December, six days before the first round of the presidential election.