UNICEF calls for urgent intervention to stop violence in Niger

A group of Nigerien children A group of Nigerien children Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

17 March 2021

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) condemns the recent “horrific killings” of civilians in western Niger.

On 15 March 2021, a group of civilians was attacked in Niger. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reported that at least 58 people were killed by unidentified armed groups in Darey Dey and Sinégogar, two villages in the Tillabery region. Amongst the victims, there were children as well.

According to the Guardian, gunmen on motorcycles targeted a group of four vehicles transporting civilians returning from a weekly livestock market near Niger’s troublesome border with Mali and Burkina Faso. Six of the victims were children aged 11 to 17, says UNICEF. Although no immediate claim of responsibility was made for the massacres, the perpetrators have been identified as armed groups belonging to the Islamic State (ISIS) who are known to be active across the region. This is not the first mass killing occurring in the Tillabery region at the expense of civilians. Monday’s attack echoed another civilian massacre staged in January which provoked the death of at least 100 civilians, says UNICEF, including 17 children under the age of 16 in two other villages of the same region. Al Jazeera defines these attacks as “targeted executions of passengers''. Indeed, the violence affecting the Tillabery region underscores the security problems which have exacerbated humanitarian needs for the affected populations.

While the local government has declared three days of national mourning to honour the victims, at the international level, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, has urged the Nigerian authorities “to spare no effort in bringing the perpetrators to justice”. The UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie Pierre Poirier, has stressed the pressing need for international support and engagement to stop the violence and enable the agency to reach the 3.8 million people, of which two million are children, in need of humanitarian assistance.

 

To learn more, visit:

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/03/1087552

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/16/gunmen-kill-at-least-58-civilians-in-attack-on-niger-convoy

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/16/motorcycle-gunmen-kill-at-least-58-civilians-on-market-day-in-niger

 

Author: Sofia Antonelli; Editor: Shabrya Ghimire

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