At Least 49 Dead In Clashes Between Terrorists And Security Forces In Niger
On July 11th, approximately 100 heavily armed terrorists riding motorcycles attacked the Tchoma Bangou village in Niger.
The Ministry of Defense announced the attack in a statement read on public television that did not identify who it suspected was behind the latest deadly incident.
The “prompt and vigorous reaction” by the Defense and Security Forces (FDS), “made it possible to repel the attack and inflict heavy losses on the enemy”, the ministry said, adding that its soldiers had seized motorcycles and a cache of weapons, including AK47s and machine guns, from the assailants.
There are reportedly 49 casualties in total – 5 civilians, 4 soldiers and 40 terrorists were killed in the clashes.
Tchoma Bangou is located in the Tillaberi region, bordering Mali and Burkina Faso, an area known as “the three borders” that has been regularly targeted by jihadist groups.
Tillaberi has been under a state of emergency since 2017. The authorities have banned motorbike traffic night and day for a year and ordered the closure of certain markets suspected of supplying “terrorists”.
Overall, jihadist attacks targeting civilians have multiplied since the start of the year with more than 300 people killed in three series of assaults against villages and camps in the west of the country.
In January, 70 civilians were killed by gunmen in Tchoma Bangou and 30 in the neighbouring village of Zaroumadareye.
Last month, 19 people were killed in villages in the same commune, according to officials.
According to United Nations estimates, there are more than 300,000 internally displaced people in Niger, many of whom fled terrorist violence that has escalated since 2015.
One of the poorest countries in the world, Niger has for years battled jihadist insurgencies on its southwestern flank with Mali, as well as Boko Haram on its southeastern border with Nigeria. The repeated attacks have claimed hundreds of lives and forced thousands to flee their homes.
On July 8th, German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger to Berlin, promising continued support for the North African country.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference before an evening working session, the chancellor underscored the difficulties facing the country but also pointed to the progress being made.
“We know the challenges are growing by the day. Therefore, I can say here and now, that when it comes to regional security, we naturally want to remain by Niger’s side — either bilaterally, or in connection with the G5 Sahel (G5S) states [Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Chad and Burkina Faso].”
So far, the EU has done a lot of promising and put out quite a bit of rhetoric in regard to the Sahel situation, however very little tangible effect has resulted from all of it.
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