Last week I reported on a massacre by Islamic zealots in Niger. The country is 90% Muslim, so the ongoing attacks are directed at the small minority of non-Muslims who live in the westernmost part of Niger.
Massacre in Tillia: At least 80 civilians killed according to a provisional count
March 22, 2021
The toll of the massacre reported yesterday (Sunday) in the villages of Intazayene and Bakorat, in the department of Tillia, continues to grow. According to local sources, more than 80 civilians were executed in cold blood by armed individuals during a deadly raid they carried out in this zone of the region north of Tahoua, located not far from the border with Mali. Investigators continue to search for other victims beneath the rubble of tents and charred homes.
The toll remains provisional awaiting the official statement from the government, but according to local officials, less than 24 hours after the tragedy at least 80 bodies have already been found, among which are women and children. Some of the bodies were found beneath the rubble of tents housing women and children, which were set on fire by the attackers.
The attackers are believed to have come on motorcycles and fired blindly at everything that moved in the villages of Intazayene and Bakorat as well as the wells of Wirstane and encampments at Akifakif. According to the same sources, the villages and encampments that were targeted mostly housed Touareg people.
Hundreds of animals were also carried off by the attackers, who were reportedly, according to local sources, local members of the terror group Islamic State of the Grand Sahara (EIGS), who are very active in this zone situated not far from the border with Mali.
This latest massacre of civilians comes after that perpetrated just a week ago near Banbangou, also near the border with Mali, when approximately 60 civilians were executed in cold blood by unidentified armed individuals. A few weeks ago, about 100 civilians were executed under almost the same conditions, also in the area of the three borders where the attackers targeted military camps in the recent past.
“In these painful moments for our country, after the cowardly and barbaric attack carried out in Tillia, I send my most sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” the outgoing president, Issoufou Mahamadou, stated, who assured his audience that, “everything will be done to see that these crimes don’t go unpunished.” A government statement is expected in the evening to announce new security measures as the country prepares for the inauguration of the new president of the Republic on April 2, 2021 after a rather tense electoral cycle that lasted longer than three months and represented the first democratic change in the history of Niger.
— A.Y. Barma
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