Dozens killed in Niger attacks near Mali border

Dozens of people have been killed in multiple attacks in Niger near its border with Mali, a security source and local residents said on Tuesday.

The raids on Monday in the Banibangou area in the Tillaberi region began with an attack on a bus travelling to Chinedogar, a local resident told AFP by phone.

“Around 20 people were killed,” the source said.

Another resident said those killed had been shopping at Banibangou, a major market town just a few kilometres (miles) from the Malian border.

“Armed bandits” then attacked villages at around 6pm, killing about 30 people, a security source said.

The attacks were not immediately confirmed by the authorities.

Niger is battling jihadists in the southeast on its frontier with Nigeria, and in the southwest, on its frontier with Mali, where the conflict began before spreading over the borders.

Tillaberi is located in the so-called tri-border area — a flashpoint zone where the frontiers of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali converge.

Niger is part of a France-backed alliance of countries in the Sahel region battling militants, including some in a group aligned with the so-called Islamic State known as ISWAP — an offshoot of Boko Haram.

On January 2, 100 people were killed in attacks on two villages in the Mangaize district of Tillaberi.

The massacre, one of the worst in Niger’s history, occurred between two rounds of the presidential elections.

In December 2019, 71 Nigerien troops died in an attack at Inates, and the following month 89 were killed in an assault on their base at Chinedogar.

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