Niger’s Prime Minister Brigi Rafini on Sunday, January 3 said that more than 100 people have been killed in attacks by Islamic extremists on two villages in Niger near its border with Mali. According to the reports by AP, he said, “We came to provide moral support and present the condolences of the president of the republic, the government and the entire Niger nation”. After his visit, he revealed that 70 people were killed in the village of Tchombangou and 30 others in Zaroumdareye.
The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, took to its official Twitter handle as he condemned the act. He wrote, “I strongly condemn the terrorist attacks in #Niger, which led to the killing & injuring of many innocent civilians. I express my condolences to @Niger_ONU and the people of Niger”. As of now, no group has taken responsibility for the attack. As per the local officials, the attacks took place after a few locals killed two fighters. Also, it took place the same day when it was announced by the West African nation’s electoral commission that the presidential elections would be heading to a second round.
The second round of elections is bound to take place after none of the 28 candidates won a majority. In the upcoming elections, which will take place on February 21, former foreign affairs minister Mohamed Bazoum of the ruling party will face off with former president Mahamane Ousmane. According to the National Independent Electoral Commission, Bazoum received 39.3 per cent of the vote, while Ousmane received 16.9 per cent. Also, Seini Oumarou of the National Movement for the Development of Society party came in third and Albade Abouba of the Patriotic Movement for the Republic came in fourth. Each of them received 7 per cent of votes.
This is not the first attack as the region has endured several attacks by Islamic extremists, including the Nigeria-based Boko Haram. Since then, thousands have lost their lives and hundreds of thousands have been displaced. Even though Jihadist pose a threat in the region, the country is expected to see its first democratic transition of power since independence from France. As per the reports by AP, nearly 7.4 million Nigeriens were registered to vote on 27 December to elect the successor to President Mahamadou Issoufou, who has served two terms in the office.
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