Unknown armed men on motorbikes have killed not less than 14 civilians in an attack on a village in western Niger, near the restive border with Mali, the government says.
The Interior Ministry has confirmed the attack, saying the attackers on Sunday “targeted civilians, and killed 14, including nine working in fields at Banibangou.”
One person who was wounded has been evacuated for treatment in the capital Niamey.
The raid on the village occurred on Sunday at around 3:00 pm (1400 GMT). The attackers arrived the village of Wiye, in the Banibangou district about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the border with Mali.
The ministry added that Security measures have been stepped up and an investigation is underway to identify and bring to trial those responsible for “the cowardly and barbaric attacks”.
Banibangou falls inside what is known as the three-borders region between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, which for years has been the scene of bloody attacks by terrorist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
The area is prone to terrorist raids. In mid-March, an attack by suspected extremists in the same district targeting a village market left 66 people dead.
And on June 24, attacks on villages in Tondikiwindi, in a neighbouring district, killed 19 people.
Despite repeated efforts by the authorities to secure the region, the deadly attacks have continued, often carried out by gunmen on motorbikes who flee across the border into Mali after their raids.
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