A fresh attack in western Niger near the border with Mali has left 18 civilians dead, a local elected official said Thursday.
The attack Wednesday was in the village of Deye Koukou in the Banibangou area, where 14 civilians were killed Sunday — also by men aboard motorbikes, the official told AFP. He did not elaborate on the circumstances of the attack, which occurred in an area where civilians are regularly targeted by suspected jihadists. 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 neighbouring 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.