Eight people, six French aid workers and two Nigerian citizens, have been killed this Sunday in Niger by armed men riding motorcycles, as reported by the governor of the Tilláberi region, Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella, to the agency France Press. The attack took place around 11:30 local time (12:30 Spanish peninsular time) about six kilometers from Kouré, inside a well-known natural reserve that houses the last giraffes in the wild in West Africa. The Elysee has confirmed the death of French citizens in Niger without giving further details. French President Emmanuel Macron has met by telephone with his Nigerian counterpart Mahamadou Issoufou. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has opened an investigation to gather more information.
According to the first versions, most of the victims died as a result of the shots except for one woman who was slit her throat after trying to escape. The Tillabéri region has been the scene of frequent attacks and terrorist attacks for the past five years, although the area where the greatest violence has been recorded is further east, along the borders of Burkina Faso and Mali. The attack took place about 65 kilometers west of Niamey, the country's capital.
Although the specific identity of the murdered French citizens is still unknown, they are aid workers who worked in Niger. The vehicle in which they were traveling at the time of the attack, a Land Cruiser that ended up completely charred, belonged to the French NGO Acted, present in the country since 2010. Several sources claim that they worked for the aforementioned organization.
In the Tillabéri region are the main bases of one of the most active jihadist groups in the Sahel, the Islamic State of the Greater Sahara (EIGS), led by one of the most wanted terrorists in the entire Sahel, Abou Walid Al Saharaui. So far this year, at least 870 people have died due to terrorist violence in Niger, so far focused around the borders of its neighbors Mali and Burkina Faso. This attack, which takes place against foreign citizens near the main highway that crosses the country from east to west, is a serious blow to this African country, one of the most impoverished in the world.