The French national prosecutor against terrorism announced on Monday that an investigation was launched after the deaths of six French and two Nigerians near Kouré, a city about 60 kilometers from Niamey, the capital of Niger.
The National Prosecutor’s Office for Terrorism (Pnat) announced on Monday (August 10th) that it had opened an investigation into “murders in connection with a terrorist company” and “terrorist organization” following the attack on Sunday in Niger, which left eight dead including six French.
The investigation “was submitted to the Directorate-General for Internal Security (DGSI), in cooperation with the Anti-Terrorist Sub-Directorate (Sdat)”, Pnat said in a press release, without confirming the number of French casualties.
25 to 50 years old
“All means are and will be implemented to shed light on the circumstances of this murderous attack,” said European and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in a press release. “Our two countries are still determined to continue a joint fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel,” recalled the Quai d’Orsay press release.
The victims were four women and four men aged 25 to 50, NGO employees acted, the humanitarian organization said on Monday. Among the victims was an international volunteer based in Niamey, said Frédéric Roussel, head of development and co-founder of the NGO, during a press conference in Paris. The other Nigerian victims were their guide and driver, according to Nigerian authorities.
In addition, NGO Acted considered it “regrettable” that the international community did not guarantee the safety of humanitarian workers deployed in high-risk countries.
An attack “like a coward hitting a group of aid workers”
From Sunday night,Emmanuel Macron condemned “the deadly attack that cowardly hit a group of humanitarian workers” and confirmed that “all means” will be used to “illuminate” the circumstances of this “attack”, according to a statement from the French Presidency.
The head of state, speaking to his Nigerian counterpart Mahamadou Issoufou, added that “their determination to continue the joint fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel” remained “intact”. He is chairing a Defense Council on Tuesday morning to find out the latest information available on this attack.
“I condemn the terrorist attack, cowardly and barbaric committed this Sunday in the peaceful city of Kouré,” tweeted President Mahamadou Isoufou, who sent his condolences “to the families of Nigeria and the French victims” as well as “to President Macron whose commitment to our side in the fight against terrorism is unsurpassed “.
Niger: terrorist attacks have been increasing since 2015
Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the president of Mali, a country bordering Niger, also reacted to the attack, “strongly condemns this barbaric act (…), which reappears in our Sahel region where violent extremism continues to be rich and the criminal economy despite the relentless war that the national armies, the joint force Sahel G5 and [française] Barkhane “.
The Nigerian army crossed over the crime zone, a huge forest area flooded by French fighter jets. Forensic scientists took samples while firefighters removed the bodies.
The victims were expected
“The attack took place around 11:30 (6:30 GMT) 6 km east of the city of Kouré”, which is an hour’s drive from Niamey on Highway 1, a source explained. close to environmental services.
“Most of the victims were shot and killed and a woman who managed to escape fled and was slaughtered. A magazine emptied of its cartridges was found on the spot,” said this source. “We do not know the identity of the attackers, but they came by motorcycle through the bush and waited for the arrival of the tourists. The vehicle borrowed by the tourists belongs to the NGO acted.”
The two tourist vehicles burned in the attack by the armed men, says Moussa Kaka, RFI correspondent.
This is the first attack on Western tourists in this area, since it became a tourist attraction about 20 years ago, when a small herd of giraffes peralta, a species that has disappeared from the rest of the planet, fleeing poachers and predators, had found refuge where.
The Tillabéri region is a large unstable area. It is located in the “three borders” area between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, which has become a den for Sahelian jihadists, including the Greater Saharan Islamic State Group (EIGS).
With AFP and Reuters