Niger: Junta acknowledges civilian casualties after drone strikes in southwest

Drone strikes by the Nigerien army in response to a jihadist attack caused several civilian casualties in the south-west of the country on the night of 5 to 6 January.

Niger Army soldier on patrol. (Illustrative photo) ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

By: RFI Follow


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The strikes were carried out at night in the village of Tiawa, near the border with Burkina Faso. According to the official statement of the ruling National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland (CNSP), they were launched as part of a joint operation with Burkinabe forces, in response to an attack by armed men they allegedly routed. The jihadists, who came on about 20 motorcycles, reportedly planned to target a military position near the town. Security sources say it was a suburb of Tiawa village that was bombed by the drone twice.

Sweeps carried out by a patrol on Saturday uncovered the lifeless bodies of villagers, houses destroyed by fire and the evacuation of the injured. In its statement, the junta did not specify the number of civilians killed, nor the death toll or capture of the terrorists. But in messages relayed on social networks, local sources mention at least 50 villagers killed and circulate images of the damage.

Some are surprised at the unusual speed with which the new authorities communicated. On the social network X (formerly Twitter), civil society figure Moussa Tchangari believes that this is "clearly a serious blunder that deserves sanctions".

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