19 Civilians Killed in New Attack in Niger

Hundreds of lives have been lost, nearly half a million people have fled their homes in the former French colony.

A fresh attack in western Niger near the border with volatile Mali has left 19 civilians dead, the government said on Thursday.

The attack took place on Wednesday in the village of Deye Koukou in the Banibangou area, where 14 civilians were killed Sunday, it said.

Three others were wounded and one was missing.

A local official earlier told AFP that 18 people had been killed in the raid.

The latest attack takes to 33 the number of civilians killed in the region in less than a week.

Banibangou falls inside what is known as the three-borders region between Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali, which for years has been the scene of bloody attacks by jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

In mid-March, an attack by suspected jihadists in the same district targeting a village market left 66 people dead.

And on June 24, attacks on villages in Tondikiwindi, in a neighboring district, killed 19 people.

Despite repeated efforts by the authorities to secure the region, the deadly attacks have continued, often carried out by gunmen on motorbikes who flee across the border into Mali after their raids.

A contingent of 1,200 Chadian soldiers is deployed in the three-borders region as part of a multinational force put together by the G5 Sahel group, which comprises Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.

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