Updated: February 24, 2021
At least 70 people were killed late on Saturday by suspected militants in Zaroumdareye and Tchombangou villages between Niger Republic and Mali.
Interior minister Alkache Alhada said 20 more people were injured in the two attacks in the two villages located in Western Niger. Alhada described the attackers as jihadists.
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The troubled Sahel region lies on the borders of Mali, Nigeria, Chad and Burkina Faso. It is home to several extremist groups that have pledged allegiance to al-Qaida and the Islamic State (ISIS).
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the killings in a statement on Sunday, describing the incident as another clarion call for united action by African leaders against terrorism.
President Buhari said: “I am profoundly shocked by the large scale death of innocent people at the hands of these callous militants who have no regard for the sanctity of human life.”
According to the President, “We are facing grave security challenges on account of the evil campaign of indiscriminate violence by terrorists in the Sahel and only united action can help us defeat these vicious enemies of humanity.”
He stated that “terrorism has now become like a contagion of evil that can spread anytime if united action is not taken.”
President Buhari said that “instability in one part of Africa had implications for the security of others.”
He recalled that “the destabilisation of Libya in 2011 is producing domino effects on the security of other African countries including Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and others.”
“The looting of Libyan armouries in the aftermath of Gaddafi’s fall has put dangerous weapons into the hands of terrorists and other criminals who now pose security challenges to other countries,” the President added.
“We are united by common fate and therefore we must act in concert to defeat these evil men who target innocent people.
“Let me use this opportunity to express my deepest sympathy for the government, the people of Niger and the families of the victims,” said President Buhari.