By Felix Tih
(AA) About 10,600 people have been displaced following recent attacks in two villages in Niger’s Tillaberi region, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The Saturday attack claimed 105 lives — 73 in Tchombangou and 32 in Zaroumadareye villages. Hundreds of survivors fled the scene on foot, according to the UN.
The Niger government provided initial support to the people affected, including food, medical supplies to health facilities and financial assistance to the families of deceased civilians, the OCHA said on Thursday.
There are 17 children, including 10 boys and seven girls aged 3 to 15 years, among the victims, according to UNICEF Niger.
The OCHA in Niger said 26 injured people are currently receiving medical treatment.
Following the Jan. 2 attacks in two villages in the Tillaberi region, majority of internally displaced people found refuge in Mangaize village with vulnerable host families. More than 500 displaced children are now out of school, according to the UN.I
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attacks by unidentified gunmen.
Last month, at least 28 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in an attack, later claimed by the Boko Haram terrorist group, in Niger’s southeastern Diffa region, the UN said.
The Tillaberi region, where the recently attacked villages are located, has been frequently targeted by terrorist groups based in Mali since 2017, with a state of emergency declared in the area.
99.3% of population in Niger is Muslim.
Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali in the Sahel are at the epicenter of one of the world’s fastest-growing displacement and protection crises.
The region is already hosting 851,000 refugees and nearly 2 million displaced people, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
[Map of Niger by CIA World Factbook/Public Domain]