On August 9th, gunmen killed 8 people in an attack in a wildlife park in Niger.
Out of those 8, 6 were French humanitarian workers from the non-governmental organization “Agence d’Aide à la Coopération Technique Et au Développement” (ACTED).
The other two are the guide and driver.
The group was attacked in a giraffe reserve near Koure, a town about 65km from the capital, Niamey. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
“They were intercepted and killed,” Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella, the governor of Tillaberi region said. “We are managing the situation, we will give more information later,” Katiella said, without indicating who was behind the attack.
The six worked for an international aid group, Niger’s Defence Minister Issoufou Katambe told Reuters. ACTED, an aid group, confirmed its staff members were targeted in the attack.
In a statement, the Association of Koure Giraffe Reserve Guides described the attackers as a “unit of terrorists” and said the dead included its president, Kadri Abdou.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office earlier confirmed French nationals had been killed in Niger, without providing any additional details. It said Macron spoke on the phone with Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou.
Photographs and videos were also released showing the location where the attack happened, including the corpses of some of the victims, and burned out remains of a car.
A source close to the environmental services said the assault took place at around 11:30 am local time, east of the town of Koure, which is an hour’s drive from the capital Niamey.
“Most of the victims were shot… We found a magazine emptied of its cartridges at the scene,” the source told AFP.
“We do not know the identity of the attackers but they came on motorcycles through the bush and waited for the arrival of the tourists.”
Around 20 years ago, a small herd of West African giraffes, a subspecies distinguished by its lighter colour, found a safe haven from poachers and predators in the Koure area. The giraffes now number in the hundreds and are a big tourist attraction.
Still, the Tillaberi region is in a hugely unstable location, near the borders of Mali and Burkina Faso.
The region has become a hideout for Sahel jihadist groups such as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and Boko Haram.
The use of motorcycles has been totally banned since January in an attempt to curb the movements of such jihadists.
Any activities against the terrorists have proven ineffective, since their attacks continue being increasingly deadly.
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