Africa

Mosque attack in western Niger leaves 10 dead

Attackers riding on motorcycles targeted worshippers, minister says

James Tasamba   | 14.10.2021
Mosque attack in western Niger leaves 10 dead

KIGALI, Rwanda

At least 10 people were killed when suspected militants attacked a mosque in western Niger, the country’s defense minister said Wednesday. 

The attack took place Monday in the village of Tizigorou in a region where Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso meet.

“The assailants, riding on motorcycles, attacked a mosque during prayer time in the prefecture of Banibangou in the Tillaberi region. The victims were praying,” Issoufou Katambe told the media.

Since early this year, attacks by suspected militants have intensified in the area around Banibangou and nearby towns in the region.

Targeting civilians and the army, they are blamed on Daesh in the Greater Sahara and an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 500 deaths have been recorded, according to official data, and thousands have been displaced fleeing the violence.

Meanwhile, local authorities on Wednesday reinstated a ban on motorbikes in several parts of the Tillaberi region following persistent security threats.

The ban, first imposed last year to combat militant attacks carried out by gunmen on motorbikes, had been lifted on Sept. 1 following a relative containment of the security situation by government forces.

Various militant groups operating in the area most often use motorbikes to attack civilian populations as well as army positions.

The initial decree also regulated the sale of fuel and shut down markets suspected of hiding informants and feeding the armed groups.

Motorbikes are the primary means of transport for people in Tillaberi.

Populations and community leaders in affected localities in the region have repeatedly expressed their concern about the negative impact of the ban on their daily lives.

The Tillaberi region is facing a major food crisis, with nearly 600,000 people facing food insecurity due to insecurity and recurrent attacks by suspected elements of non-state armed groups targeting farmers and civilians, according to the UN.

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