A total of eight people have died in the shooting in Niger, in western Africa. In addition to the two locals, there are six Frenchmen among the victims of the motorcycle riders, the governor of the Tillaber region told AFP on Sunday.
The French aid organization ACTED says there are several workers in the organization among the dead. The matter was reported by the organization’s attorney, Joseph Breham.
The French presidential office has confirmed that there have been French among the dead, but has not provided more detailed figures, according to AFP. French President Emmanuel Macron has condemned the attack.
The car had been burned and had bullet holes in its rear window.
Image: AFP / Magazine image
Sunday’s attack is believed to be the first blow of its kind against Westerners in the region.
Nigerians who were among the dead were, according to the local governor, the group’s driver and guide. The attacked group had been visiting an area favored by tourists because of the wildlife living there.
The popularity of the area has been influenced by the West African Giraffes living there, also known as Nigerian giraffes.
According to Al Jazeera, the attack took place on Sunday in a giraffe sanctuary near the municipality of Koure, located about 65 kilometers from the country’s capital, Niamey. No group has yet reported being behind the brutal bloodshed, Al Jazeera says.
Macron condemned the "cowardly" attack
A source close to the Nigerian Ministry of the Environment told news agency AFP that the attack took place at about half past two during the day.
- Most of the victims were shot, the source said and said an empty chest was found at the scene.
According to the source, one woman had initially managed to escape, but the perpetrators had later caught her and had been killed. According to a source who spoke to AFP, the identities of those who attacked the tourist group are unknown. The armed persons had arrived on the motorcycles through the bush and waited for the group to arrive.
The source described the scene where the bodies were placed side by side near the burned vehicle. There were bullet holes in the rear window of the car.
The French presidential office said Macron had talked over the phone with Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou. Both leaders condemned the "cowardly" attack.
A representative of the French army who commented on the matter in Paris has said that French troops fighting jihadists in the Sahel region have given support to Nigerian forces. An AFP reporter on the ground confirmed that French fighters flew over the area on Sunday as the Niger Army searched a large area of forest.
The area is considered safe, but jihadists are hiding in the surroundings
About 20 years ago, a small group of West African giraffes found the Koure area, where they were safe from poachers and predators. Today, hundreds of Giraffes in the area are an important tourist attraction and are under the protection of both local and environmental organizations.
West African Giraffes recognize other giraffes from a lighter color. According to the conservation organization AWF, there are only about 600 West African giraffes in the world.
An internal source at the Western Human Rights Organization in Niamey told AFP that everyone is going to Kourre on weekend trips. Ambassadors, diplomats and teachers, among others, go to the area. The area is not considered dangerous at all, he said.
However, the wider Tillaber area is very unstable. The area is located near the borders of Mali and Burkina Faso. Tillaberi has been selected as a hiding place for jihadist groups in the Sahel region.
The use of motorcycles has been completely banned in the area since January. The ban seeks to restrict the movement of jihadists in the area. Several Europeans have either been abducted or killed in this flammable area.
In 2011, two French men were killed after being kidnapped by jihadists from a restaurant in Niamey.