137 People Killed in Niger in Series of Attacks on Villages Along Mali Border

NIAMEY, Niger — Armed attackers using bikes killed 137 folks in coordinated raids on villages in southwestern Niger on Sunday, the federal government stated, making it one of the deadliest days in latest reminiscence in a rustic ravaged by Islamist violence.

The unidentified assailants struck in the afternoon, raiding three villages and different hamlets in the Tahoua area bordering Mali, the federal government stated on Monday, revising the toll up from a earlier estimate by native authorities of about 60 killed.

“By systematically targeting civilians, these armed bandits are reaching a new level of horror and savagery,” it stated in a press release, asserting three days of nationwide mourning.

It didn’t say who authorities believed was behind the assaults, however the violence comes amid a wider security crisis across West Africa’s Sahel region, which is being fueled by militants linked to Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and ethnic militias.

Unidentified assailants killed no less than 58 villagers in the close by area of Tillabéri final Monday.

The assaults on Sunday got here the identical day that Niger’s Constitutional Court declared Mohamed Bazoum the winner of a February runoff election for the presidency. Mr. Bazoum will probably be inaugurated on April 2.

In January, 100 civilians in Niger had been killed in assaults by suspected militants, with armed males capturing males and boys in what was stated to be a revenge attack on the villages of Tchoma Bangou and Zaroumadareye in Tillabéri.

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