Niamey – Jihadists behind a wave of attacks in Niger’s vast Tillaberi region are able to operate freely in spite of the government’s strict controls there, a group of local MPs said on Friday.
To combat rising attacks, Niger has declared a state of emergency, banned the movement of motorbikes, regulated the sale of fuel and closed markets suspected of supplying armed groups, they said.
Despite this, “targeted attacks and bombings continue”, the MPs said, adding: “There are very strong threats to several villages where terrorists of all kinds circulate freely day and night without being bothered.”
The group of MPs from the western Tillaberi region in western Niger called for even tighter security measures in the “three borders” area between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, which has been the scene of bloody attacks by suspected jihadists for years.
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The Tillaberi is experiencing “an upsurge in terrorist attacks: these armed assaults, most often carried out on motorbikes, have resulted in hundreds of civilian and military deaths, as well as many wounded and internally displaced persons,” the MPs wrote in a statement.
In one month, 98 civilians and 19 gendarmes have been killed in just three departments of the region, they said.
The latest massacre was on Monday in the village of Darey-Daye, where 37 people working in a field, including four women and 13 minors, were killed, according to an official report.
The MPs called on the government to increase military boots on the ground and to respond more quickly to attacks — especially with air power.
The attackers now operate even “on camels and bicycles” and then “disappear very quickly into the wild”, they said, adding that thanks to their local “accomplices”, they are “well informed” about the movements of the military”.
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