At least three people, including two refugees, were killed on Sunday in a jihadist attack at a place where Malian refugees were being held in Intikane in western Niger, the UN announced on Monday.
At least three civilians, including two refugees, were killed Sunday, May 31, at the hands of jihadists in Niger. The attackers attacked a place where Malian refugees were being held in the Intikane in the Tahoua region (west of Niger) near Mali.
“Yesterday (Sunday) late at 4.30 pm local time (3.30 pm GMT) attacked about 50 motorcycle jihadists at the Intikane refugee site. Three people were murdered,” said Monday 1your June to the AFP UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Niamey.
The three victims are “the President of the Refugee Committee, the President of the Refugee Vigilance Committee and the representative of the nomadic group Tahoua (Nigeria’s regular chief)”.
According to the UNHCR, a guard was “kidnapped” by the jihadists who acted in a “well thought out procedure”.
Nigerian village, Intikane, is a refugee reception zone (ZAR) where 20,000 Malays have been living with the locals since 2013.
“The jihadists caused damage to the camp facilities and, in particular, emptied the grocery store and destroyed the system that supplies the area with drinking water within a radius of 40 km,” explains the UN agency.
The hydraulic system sabotaged by the attackers provides drinking water to the 20,000 Malian refugees, 15,000 other displaced Nigerians who fled their village because of jihadist violence, and all the local population living in this vast desert area, she specifies.
“It is serious, the terrorists have destroyed our living space,” Alessandra Moreli, UNHCR’s representative in Niger, told AFP, “condemning this attack.”
“Terrorists destroyed telephone relay antennas” in the area before carrying out the attack, a security source told AFP.
A long list of attacks against refugee camps
This raid extends the list of Malian refugee camps attacked by jihadist groups for four years in Niger.
22 Nigerian soldiers were killed in October 2016 in Tazalit during an attack on a refugee camp. In 2016, two dead Malian refugees were killed in Tabarey Barey, another UN camp in the Tillabéri region. In October 2014, nine members of the security forces were killed and two refugees were injured in a similar attack in a third camp in Mangaize.
According to the UN, Niger is home to nearly 60,000 Malian refugees who fled northern Mali who fell in March-April 2012 under the thumb of jihadist groups, largely driven by an international military intervention launched in 2013 at the initiative of France.
Western Niger is the scene of frequent attacks by jihadist groups, especially the Islamic State of the Grand Sahara Group (EIGS). Niger is also facing attacks in the east by jihadists from the Boko Haram nebula.
Jihadist violence, often mixed with conflicts between communities, left about 4,000 people dead in 2019 in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, according to the UN.