At least 10 people were killed Thursday in Niger’s western Tillaberi province, where civilians are increasingly falling prey to attacks blamed on jihadists, local officials told AFP.
One local elected official said “attackers on motorbikes killed at least 15 people around 3:30 pm (1430 GMT), four in the village of Danga-Zouani and four in the nearby village of Korombara. The others were killed in their fields.”
A senior local official spoke of “at least 10 people killed” by the motorbike raiders, some of them farmers sowing their fields, but added that the toll was “still provisional.”
“We have also been told that grain stores and huts were burned,” he said, adding that security forces had arrived to secure the area.
The Tondikiwindi district where the attacks took place suffered 100 deaths at the hands of attackers on motorbikes in January in the villages of Tchoma Bangou and Zaroumadereye, before the armed men fled into neighboring Mali.
It was also the scene of a 2017 ambush in which four US special forces troops and five Nigerien soldiers died.
Attackers killed 66 in a March massacre elsewhere in Tillaberi, also burning grain stores and vehicles.
Rated the poorest country in the world under the UN’s Human Development Index, Niger is battling jihadist insurgencies on its southwestern flank with Mali and on its southeastern border with Nigeria.
Tillaberi is located in the notorious “tri-border zone” between Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali, one of the hotspots of fighting across the arid Sahel region on the southern fringes of the Sahara desert.
Thousands of soldiers and civilians have died and more than two million people have been displaced in the impoverished region.