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Africa News of Thursday, 25 March 2021

Source: africanews.com

At least 11 killed in Niger attacks and classrooms set on fire

At least 11 people have been killed in three separate jihadist attacks in the western Tillaberi region that is close to Mali, local officials said.

The militants arrived in the villages on motorbikes on Wednesday and set classrooms on fire, looted a health centre and stole livestock.

The attackers "surrounded the villages" and those who sought to flee were chased and killed, according to the official who wished to remain anonymous.

The violent incidents occurred in the villages of Zibane-Koira Zeno, Zibane Koira-T├ęgui and Gadabo, which are in close proximity to each other.

The insurgencies in West Africa's Sahel has killed hundreds and nearly half a million people have fled their homes.

In May 2020, twenty people were killed in these same three villages, during attacks carried out by heavily armed men who came on motorcycles and who then fled towards Mali, according to the authorities.

Attacks against civilians have increased since the start of the year in Niger: more than 300 people have been killed in three series of attacks against villages and camps in the west of the country, bordering Mali.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The latest large-scale attack was on Sunday in the Tahoua region, killing 137 people in a few hours in three villages.

The killings underscore the massive security challenges facing Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum, who was elected in February.

A 5,000 strong French counterterrorism offensive targets the militants, including some in a group aligned with the Islamic State known as ISWAP -- an offshoot of Boko Haram.

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