‘Many’ civilians killed in Niger gun attack

Gunmen killed a significant number of civilians in Niger on Saturday, authorities said, in the latest attack to rock the landlocked Sahel nation’s troubled western Tillaberi region.

“The attack took place around noon (1100 GMT) and there were deaths,” a senior regional official told AFP, without giving an exact toll or further details of the attack.

A local official said “many civilians were killed” in the attack on Tchomo-Bangou, a village near the Mali border, but did not give details.

“The attackers came to surround the village and killed up to 50 people. The wounded were taken to Ouallam hospital,” a local radio station journalist said on condition of anonymity.

The attack came on the same day election officials announced results for the first round of Niger’s presidential vote that put ruling party candidate and former government minister Mohamed Bazoum in the clear lead, with a runoff set for next month.

The vast and unstable Tillaberi region is located in the so-called tri-border area, a jihadist-plagued zone where the porous borders of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso converge.