17 children killed in attacks in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso

Children playing in a run-down place Children playing in a run-down place Photo by Bennett Tobias on Unsplash

06 January 2021

Attacks in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso leave at least 17 children dead in the first week of 2021; Save the Children calls for their protection.

Dozens of civilians, including at least 17 children, were killed in the first week of 2021 as a result of armed attacks in the Sahel region. Three separate attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have highlighted the danger facing children in the region.

The first caused 100 civilian deaths, including 17 children, when an armed group attacked two villages in the insecure Tillaberi region in Niger on 2 January 2021. While Islamic State in the Greater Sahara has increasingly staged attacks in the region, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The next day, more than 20 people, including children, were killed in airstrikes carried out during a wedding ceremony in a remote area of central Mali. Although the French army had carried out an airstrike in the region, a French military spokesman claimed that French forces attacked a ‘fully-identified armed terrorist group’ and denied any connection between the strike and a wedding ceremony. In Burkina Faso, six people were killed the following day when 100 armed fighters attacked a village in the north of the country. Among the victims were two members of an anti-jihadist militia.

Amavi Akpamagbo, Country Director of Save the Children in Mali, strongly condemned the killing of children in the ongoing conflict in the Sahel region, calling on governments and armed groups to ensure that children, their families and their communities are protected. Mr Akpamagbo pointed out that even when children are not directly harmed by an attack, they lose their parents, family members and teachers, and are driven out of their homes and schools.

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Author: Irina Kovacevic; Editor: Catherine Meunier

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