At least 10 people were killed on Thursday in Niger’s western province of Tillaberi, where civilians are increasingly subject to attacks blamed on jihadists, local officials told AFP.
A local elected official said that “at around 3.30pm (1430 GMT) motorcycle attackers killed at least 15 people, four in the village of Danga-Zouani and four in the nearby village of Korombara. The others were killed in their fields”.
A senior local official spoke of “at least 10 people killed” by the motor robbers, some of them farmers sowing their fields, but added the toll was “still provisional”.
“We were also told that grain stores and huts were burned,” he said, adding that security forces had arrived to secure the area.
In the Tondikiwindi district where the attacks took place, 100 people were killed by assailants on motorcycles in the villages of Tchoma Bangou and Zaroumadereye in January before the gunmen fled to neighboring Mali.
It was also the scene of an ambush in 2017 in which four US special forces troops and five Nigerien soldiers died.
Attackers killed 66 people in a massacre elsewhere in Tillaberi in March, which also set fire to grain warehouses and vehicles.
Niger, classified as the poorest country in the world according to the UN Human Development Index, is fighting jihadist uprisings on its southwestern flank with Mali and on its southeastern border with Nigeria.
Tillaberi is located in the infamous “three border zone” between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, one of the battlegrounds in the arid Sahel region on the southern edge of the Sahara.
Thousands of soldiers and civilians have died and more than two million people have been displaced in the impoverished region.