Eight people including six French tourists were killed by armed men on Sunday in the Kouré area in Niger. A sector usually without risks, wonders the writer Seidik Abba, specialist in the region. According to him, this event could demonstrate the resurgence of jihadist groups in the Sahel, despite Operation Barkhane.


Six French people and their two guides were killed Sunday morning in Niger, in the Kouré area, a region that is home to the last herds of wild giraffes in West Africa. The attackers arrived by motorbike through the bush and shot dead almost all of the victims. Writer specializing in the region, author of several books on Niger, Seidik Abba expressed, on Europe 1, his astonishment, while the area in question is not classified red by the Quai d'Orsay.

>> Find the morning show of the day in replay and podcast here

No particular risk in this area

"It's a huge surprise for me who knows the region", expresses Seidik Abba, at the microphone of Europe 1. "The zone has never presented any particular risk because it is only 70 kilometers away. east of Niamey (the Nigerien capital, editor's note), far from the border with Mali where the jihadist threat is concentrated ".

In fact, in recent years, most of the French people taken hostage (and sometimes executed) in the Sahel, have mainly been in Mali. This was notably the case of Philippe Verdon and Serge Lazarevic, kidnapped in Mali at the end of 2011, Gilberto Rodrigues Leal, in the west of Mali at the end of 2012, or the journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, in the north of Mali, at the end of 2013.

"The modus operandi tends to accredit" the jihadist track

The area in which French tourists were killed on Sunday is not, in fact, classified as red by the Quai d'Orsay. However, adds Seidik Abba, "the modus operandi tends to accredit the possibility that this extremely serious act could have been committed by a jihadist group". In this case, this means that "despite the reinforcement of Barkhane's means and the better coordination, the jihadist groups still have an operational and nuisance capacity which allows them to come not far from African capitals".