Niamey/Bamako/Abuja: On Monday, more than 100 people were killed in violence in West Africa’s Sahel region. At least 58 people have been killed in attacks in Niger’s Tillaberi region. In Mali, over 11 people were killed, and several others went missing in a terrorist attack on a military outpost. On the other hand, 41 Boko Haram militants were killed in operation by special forces in Nigeria. However, Boko Haram has claimed to have killed more than 30 army personnel.
In Africa, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Nigeria and Mauritania are recognised as the Sahel countries. In the last few years, the influence of terrorist organisations has been steadily increasing in the Sahel region. Groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and IS, have been launching repeated attacks to maintain their dominance in the area. Monday’s violence appears to have been launched for the same reason.
Armed groups carried out the first attack near the Chinedogar village in Niger’s Tilaberi region. The gunmen attacked villagers in vehicles returning from a nearby market in the afternoon. Around 20 people were killed in the attack, sources said. Afterwards, in the evening, gunmen attacked two villages and are said to have killed 28 people.
Both attacks took place in areas close to the Mali-Burkina Faso border. Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, sources suspect Boko Haram or IS-linked terrorist groups are responsible for the attacks. Also, local authorities suggested an ethnic militia may be behind the attack. The attack is the second most significant one in the last three months. Before that, an attack in January had killed nearly 100 people.
In Nigeria, 41 Boko Haram militants were killed in operation carried out by the army’s special forces in Borno State. During the operation, more than 60 women and children abducted by the militants were released. Officials informed that a large cache of arms was also seized from the terrorists. Besides, military sources revealed that four army personnel were killed in the incident. Boko Haram, however, in an independent statement, has claimed that it had killed at least 30 soldiers and abducted a few.
On Monday, terrorists had attacked a military outpost near the Ansongo town in northeastern Mali. Eleven soldiers were killed, and several others went missing in the attack. It is the second time in the last month that terrorist groups have targeted a military outpost in Mali. Earlier in February, 10 Mali soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack in Mopti, central Mali.