Niger Declares Emergency After Fresh Boko Haram Attacks | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Niger Declares Emergency After Fresh Boko Haram Attacks

Posted: Jun 18, 2015 at 8:48 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Boko Haram militants attacked two villages in the Diffa region in southern Niger Republic on Thursday.

The terrorists drove in pick-up trucks, cars and motorbikes and opened fire on villagers, killing at least 30 civilians, two security sources said on Thursday.

The attackers drove into the villages in the Gueskerou area and shot residents before setting fire to the mostly straw thatched houses where others were hiding, the sources said.

“In all, at least 30 were killed. Some of them died when the houses were set alight,” said one of the security officials. The source said he expected the death toll to rise since many survivors had severe burns.

Gueskerou is along the banks of the Komadugu River separating Niger from Nigeria.

Despite a regional military operation to beat back Boko Haram, southern Niger has been attacked dozens of times this year. Its government has declared a state of emergency for the region and has arrested more than 600 people it accuses of links to the group.

The 15-day state of emergency in the border region would allow the military in Diffa to search homes without a warrant and imposes a curfew.

A female suicide bomber was shot dead in Diffa town on Wednesday before she could detonate herself, an army spokesman told the BBC.

Boko Haram also attacked Chadian army positions on Wednesday but was repelled.

“We knew they were going to attack us,” a Chadian military official told Reuters news agency. “We were waiting. The battle didn’t last long.”

The battle took place in Gamboru town in Nigeria’s Borno state, which Chadian troops captured from Boko Haram last week.

Chadian forces are part of a regional coalition fighting Boko Haram, whose militants are increasingly attacking the area around Lake Chad, a crossroads between Nigeria, Chad and Niger.

Many people are living in refugee camps after being forced to flee their homes

Thousands of residents are fleeing the town of Diffa, attempting to travel the 500km (310 miles) to Zinder city, reports the BBC’s Baro Arzika from Niger.

One refugee told the BBC she had fled Diffa and was trying to locate her relatives.

“I left home when I heard the blast at Tattasai market and went looking for my children,” she said.

“I left Diffa yesterday but I don’t have peace of mind because I could not locate my mother, my son, my aunties and my other relatives.

“Everybody went their separate way and I did not meet any of them on my way here. I searched almost everywhere in Zinder but I couldn’t find my son.”

Another witness said that about 200 refugees had arrived in Zinder on Tuesday in a single convoy, travelling in lorries.