Turkey strongly condemns Niger terrorist attacks

Turkey on Monday condemned deadly terror attacks in northwestern Niger that left at least 60 civilians dead.

“We are deeply saddened that at least 40 people lost their lives in the terrorist attacks carried out on 21 March 2021, in settlements located in the Tillia city of Tahoua region, in Niger,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We strongly condemn this heinous attack.”

It extended condolences to the families of those who lost their lives, as well as to the “friendly and brotherly” people and the government of Niger.

Armed men killed at least 60 people in southwestern Niger on Sunday, local government officials said Monday.

The attackers raided three villages in the Tahoua region, which borders Mali. A security source blamed Daesh, whose local affiliate is active in the zone.

Alfouzazi Issintag, mayor of Tillia, the rural commune to which the villages belong, told Reuters there were about 60 deaths but that he did not yet have a final toll.

A village leader in the region who requested anonymity put the number of people killed at around 70.

The violence is part of a wider security crisis across West Africa’s Sahel region, which is also fuelled by militants linked to al-Qaida, Daesh terrorist group, and ethnic militias.

The attacks on Sunday might have been revenge for the recent arrests of people suspected of belonging to armed groups in the area, said a report by the cluster of humanitarian organizations led by the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR).