Niamey: In two separate terrorist attacks, 80 people were killed, and more than 20 were wounded in Niger’s Tillaberi. Although no terrorist group has accepted responsibility for the attack, sources suspect Boko Haram or an ISIS-affiliated group carried it out. After it launched attacks on Diffa region last month, Boko Haram had threatened to strike again saying the attack would not be the last.
Niger Interior Minister Alkache Alhada stated that villages of Zaroumdareye and Tchombangou witnessed successive terrorist attacks. The first round of presidential and parliamentary elections was held last month, and thus security tightened. As the incidents occurred despite the security arrangements, security agencies are being accused of being ineffective.
An attack in Tchombangou located to the south of Niger, near the Mali border, claimed the lives of 50 people while 17 were injured. A successive attack launched on Zaroumdareye village is said to have left 30 dead. Security agencies believe the same terrorist organisation has conducted both attacks. Also, local officials said the assailants might have made their way to Niger from Mali.
Military units have been dispatched to Tillaberi region since the incident, and a search operation is underway. The interior minister stated that ‘A few days ago, villagers from the region had killed two suspected terrorists. The deadly attacks may have been carried out as revenge.’ Besides, the incidents are claimed to have been launched as a warning to the government given ongoing Niger elections.
Last month’s violent attacks by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Diffa, killed 28 and over 100 were hurt. At the time, the terrorists even set as many as 800 houses on fire. The latest major terrorist attack within two weeks from the incident has shown the security agencies’ failure.
Africa’s Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania are recognised as the Sahel countries. For the past few years, the influence of terrorist groups in the Sahel region has been rising consistently. Groups associated with terrorist organisations, the Al Qaeda and ISIS, are repeatedly carrying out attacks for supremacy over the area. Even though the US, France and other European nations have launched counter-terrorism campaigns, it has not attained the expected success. The recent attacks only demonstrate that terrorist organisations are gaining ground.