On Monday fifty-eight civilians were massacred in the West African country of Niger. Although religion is not mentioned in the article below, this BBC story refers to the attackers as “suspected Islamists”. And according to this article from France24, the atrocity was carried out by an Islamic State affiliate known as Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), an offshoot of Boko Haram.
My database of Muslim population statistics is out of date by more than fifteen years. However, I don’t think the percentage of Muslims in Niger has decreased in the interim, and the database lists Niger as 90% Islamic.
So who are these “Islamists” attacking? The atrocity occurred in the tri-border area of western Niger, where presumably there is a significant Christian and/or animist minority.
Given the Mohammed Coefficient of government leaders in Niger, the country is being governed by Muslims. Nevertheless, the state seems to be doing its best to suppress jihad massacres like this one.
Insecurity: Three days of national mourning after the massacre of 58 civilians in Banibangou (Official)
In a statement read on public television on Tuesday evening, the government announced that fifty-eight (58) people were killed and several others wounded in an attack on Monday March 15 that targeted villagers returning from the weekly market in Banibangou (Tillabéri Region). The armed assailants also burned two (2) vehicles, took two (2) others, and set fire to several grain sheds.
After this new tragedy, the government decreed three (3) days of national mourning beginning Wednesday, March 17 according to the statement read on public television by the ministry spokesperson. Flags will also be lowered to half-staff during this period throughout the country.
On Monday, March 15, 2021, in the afternoon, groups of unidentified armed individuals attacked four (4) vehicles transporting passengers returning from the weekly market in Banibangou (Tillabéri Region) and heading respectively to the villages of Chinagoder and Darey Dey. These individuals proceeded in a cowardly and cruel fashion to carry out targeted executions of the passengers.
At the village of Darey Dey, they killed people and burned grain sheds.
The balance sheet for these barbaric acts is as follows:
- Fifty-eight (58) people killed
- One person injured
- Several grain sheds and two (2) vehicles burned
- Two vehicles taken
Security provisions have been strengthened in the zone, and an investigation has been opened to find the perpetrators of these criminal acts and bring them before the courts.
In this painful circumstance, His Excellency, President of the Republic, Chief of Staff, Supreme Chief of the Armed Forces, and the government send their saddest condolences to the families of the victims and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.
A three-day period of national mourning has been decreed beginning Wednesday, March 17, 2021. The flags will be at half-staff throughout the national territory.
The government calls the population to increased vigilance and reaffirms its determination to relentlessly continue the fight against criminality in all its forms.
May God bless Niger and its people!
Niamey (Capital), 16 March 2021
Zakaria Abdouraham, Minister Spokesperson of the Government