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September 30, 2020
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French Help Group Employees Amongst eight Killed By Gunmen In Niger

Our bodies have been laid side-by-side subsequent to a torched off-road car, sources mentioned

Niamey, Niger:

Eight individuals, together with workers of a French assist group, have been killed Sunday by gunmen using bikes in an space of Niger that’s dwelling to the final West African giraffes, officers mentioned.

“There are eight lifeless: two Nigeriens together with a information and a driver, whereas the opposite six are French,” the governor of the Tillaberi area advised AFP.

The French presidency confirmed that its nationals have been among the many lifeless, with out giving a determine.

The French assist group ACTED mentioned a number of of its staff have been amongst these killed throughout a vacationer outing.

“Among the many eight individuals killed in Niger, a number of have been Acted workers,” mentioned the NGO’s lawyer Joseph Breham.

It’s believed to be the primary such assault on Westerners within the space, a preferred vacationer attraction within the former French colony because of its distinctive inhabitants of West African or Niger giraffes.

“We’re managing the scenario, we are going to give extra data later,” governor Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella mentioned, with out indicating who was behind the assault.

A supply near Niger’s environmental companies mentioned the assault came about at round 11:30 am (1030 GMT) six kilometres (4 miles) east of the city of Koure, which is an hour’s drive from the capital Niamey.

“A lot of the victims have been shot… We discovered {a magazine} emptied of its cartridges on the scene,” the supply advised AFP.

“We have no idea the identification of the attackers however they got here on bikes by way of the bush and waited for the arrival” of the group.

The supply added that the victims’ car belonged to ACTED.

“Barbaric act”

The supply additionally described the scene of the assault, the place our bodies have been laid side-by-side subsequent to a torched car, which had bullet holes in its rear window.

In Paris, a spokesman for the French military mentioned France’s Barkhane pressure, which fights jihadists within the Sahel area, had supplied assist to Niger’s forces.

An AFP reporter on the scene of confirmed that French fighter jets flew overhead later Sunday as Niger’s military searched the huge wooded space.

Forensic police have been amassing samples forward of the our bodies being moved earlier than evening fell, the reporter added.

The workplace of President Emmanuel Macron mentioned he spoke on the cellphone together with his Niger counterpart Mahamadou Issoufou.

Neighbouring Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in the meantime strongly condemned the “barbaric act”.

He lamented that “violent extremism” was nonetheless rife within the Sahel area “regardless of the cruel battle waged by nationwide armies, the G5 Sahel joint forces and the Barkhane pressure”.

“Not thought-about harmful”

Round 20 years in the past, a small herd of West African giraffes, a subspecies distinguished by its lighter color, discovered a secure haven from poachers and predators within the Koure space.

Right now they quantity of their tons of and are a key vacationer attraction, having fun with the safety of native individuals and conservation teams.

A Western humanitarian supply primarily based in Niamey mentioned “all of us go to Koure on weekend outings as a result of it is very straightforward to entry”.

“Everybody goes there, even ambassadors, diplomats, academics… it isn’t thought-about a harmful zone in any respect. There are NGOs defending giraffes there,” the supply advised AFP.

Nevertheless, the Tillaberi area is in a vastly unstable location, close to the borders of Mali and Burkina Faso.

The area has develop into a hideout for Sahel jihadist teams such because the Islamic State within the Better Sahara (ISGS).

Using bikes has been completely banned since January in an try and curb the actions of such jihadists.

Quite a few Europeans have been kidnapped or killed within the unstable Sahel.

Two younger Frenchmen, Antoine De Leocour and Vincent Delory, have been killed after being kidnapped by jihadists from a restaurant in Niger’s capital Niamey in 2011.

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