Around 100 people have been killed by suspected Islamic terrorists in two villages in western Niger, the latest in a string of civilian massacres that have rocked the jihadist-plagued Tillaberi region.
As per a report in The Guardian –
“The attacks on the villages of Tchoma Bangou and Zaroumadareye occurred on Saturday just as first-round presidential election results were announced. They were waged by “terrorists who came riding about 100 motorcycles”, said Almou Hassane, the mayor of the Tondikiwindi commune that administers both villages.
“There were up to 70 dead in Tchoma Bangou and 30 dead in Zaroumadareye,” he said, adding he had just returned from the scene of the attacks. The two villages are 120km (75 miles) north of the capital, Niamey.
“There have also been 75 wounded, some of whom have been evacuated to Niamey and to Ouallam for treatment,” Hassane said.
…The two villages are in the vast and unstable Tillaberi region, which is located in the “tri-border” area, where the porous borders of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso converge. The area has suffered jihadist assaults for years.
Four thousand people across the three nations died in 2019 from jihadist violence and ethnic bloodshed stirred by Islamists, according to the UN. Seven Nigerien soldiers were killed in an ambush in Tillaberi on 21 December. Travel by motorbike has been banned in Tillaberi since last January in a bid to prevent incursions by jihadists riding them.
A landlocked state located in the heart of the Sahel, Niger is also being hammered by jihadists from Nigeria, the cradle of a decade-old insurgency launched by Boko Haram.
Boko Haram claimed responsibility for an attack on 12 December that left 34 people dead in the village of Toumour, in south-eastern Niger near the border with Nigeria.
Last month 34 villagers were massacred in the south-eastern region of Diffa, also on the Nigerian border, the day before municipal and regional elections that had been repeatedly delayed because of poor security.”
In November last year, Islamic terrorists shouting ‘Allah u Akbar’ beheaded more than 50 in a football pitch in Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique, Eastern Africa. Then in December, around 300 Nigerian students went missing after gunmen attacked a secondary school in the country’s northwestern Katsina state.
Africa is beset with multiple Islamic terrorist outfits like al-Shabab centred in Somalia but active in Kenya, Tanzania and known to have links with the terrorists in northern Mozambique too; Boko Haram which is active in Nigeria; AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) which aims to overthrow the Algerian government and is also active in Mali, Libya, Niger, Mauritania; Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian Islamic Jihad active in Egypt; Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group known by the French acronym GICM; Islamic State (IS) affiliated organizations — Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) and Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), Islamic State’s Central Africa Province (ISCAP) etc.
According to the Global Terrorism Index 2019 (GTI), the number of terror-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa has already surpassed the number of deaths in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Islamic terrorism is advancing downwards from North Africa towards the central and southern parts of the continent.
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