NIAMEY, Niger — At least 37 people, including 13 children ages 15 to 17 and four women, were killed in an attack in western Niger’s Tillabery region Thursday.
The United Nations International Children’s Education Fund said that it’s deeply shocked and outraged by the terrible attacks against children and families by unidentified armed groups in the village of Darey-dey, in the rural commune of Banibangou, Tillabery region, in western Niger.
“We are saddened to confirm that at least 37 civilians — including thirteen children aged 15 to 17 and four women — were killed and several others were injured,” Marie-Pierre Poirier, the organization’s regional director for West and Central Africa, said in a statement.
“We express our deepest sympathy to the victims, families, and communities impacted by these brutal attacks. It is the third attack that occurred in this village this year. Conditions on the ground remain extremely dangerous for children.”
Insecurity is spreading at a rapid pace in Niger. Attacks in the region of Tillabery, and along the borders with Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria have led to significant displacement and continue to wreak havoc on the lives of hundreds of thousands of children.
“In conflict-affected areas, the places children rely on for protection and support — including schools, health facilities, and protection services — have also come under attack.
The organization and others have repeatedly called for the protection of civilians, particularly children and women, and for the respect of international humanitarian law.
“Killing children is a grave violation of human rights. The continuing conflict, repeated attacks, and access restrictions due to insecurity and violence are also hampering our ability to reach those most in need,” said the organization.
Attacks in the region of Tillabery, and along the borders with Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria have led to significant displacement and continue to wreak havoc on the lives of hundreds of thousands of children.
Conflict, displacement, food insecurity, malnutrition, recurrent disease epidemics and outbreaks, cyclical floods, and droughts in Niger have put more than 3.8 million people, including 2.1 million children, in need of humanitarian assistance, said the organization.
Attacks in the Lake Chad region have prevented nearly 269,000 people in Diffa, eastern Niger, from returning home. More than 195,000 people are now displaced in the regions of Tillabery and Tahoua in western Niger.
Over 77,000 people who have fled inter-communal violence in northern Nigeria live in the Maradi region, central Niger, and more than 21,000 internally displaced persons.
“As of end of March 2021, Niger hosted a total of 313,000 Internally Displaced Persons, 235,000 refugees, and 36,000 returnees,” said the organization.
Niger is one of the countries in the Sahel targeted by militants linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
Militants killed 15 soldiers in southwest Niger, near the border with Burkina Faso, on Aug. 2.
Before this, armed attackers struck on July 11 struck Tchoma Bangou village in Niger’s restive southwest region near the border with Mali, the government said, killing five civilians, four soldiers.
Forty attackers were killed in the incident.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Amrita Das and Kipchumba Some
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