Heavily armed jihadists stormed a camp housing refugees from neighboring Mali in western Niger and killed nine people, a local official said Saturday.
The attack took place on Wednesday at a camp in the Tahoua region bordering jihadist-hit Mali, an elected local official said.
“The toll from the attack is nine dead, one wounded and six missing,” the official said.
He said “heavily armed terrorists” arrived on motorcycles and “opened fire” before fleeing back to Mali.
A security source confirmed the attack without giving any details.
Tahoua lies in a zone bordering Mali and Burkina Faso — two countries hit by jihadist insurgency — and has come under repeated attack since 2017 by armed groups linked to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
In March 2021, jihadists massacred 141 civilians in the region. In May 16 soldiers from Niger died in an ambush, and 35 civilians were killed in another jihadist attack in November.
There are over 61,000 Malian refugees sheltering in Tahoua and nearby Tillaberi, according to the United Nations.
After the departure of French soldiers from Mali last year and a pullout soon from Burkina Faso, there will be only 3,000 of the troops left in the restive Sahel region — in Niger and Chad — to fight jihadist groups.
All the countries involved are former French colonies.