Niger’s president, Mohamed Bazoum, visited the inhabitants of the Anzourou area, which has been plagued by deadly jihadist attacks that have forced farmers to abandon their fields.
He said that he wanted to combat “tackle the issue at its root” by securing Inates, the commune closest to Mali and the main entry point for terrorists, according to him.
“You asked us to improve our network, the way in which we occupy the territory. I have also noted this, but what I will tell you, most importantly, is that we will tackle the issue at its root, by taking charge of Inates (a commune near Mali) in a different way than we have done so far, and in this way, we will close the door which the terrorists use to come here, he said.
In August, the Human Rights Watch estimated that more than 420 civilians had been killed since the beginning of the year in western Niger.
Since June, the region has experienced more attacks mainly directed at civilians working in the fields.
“Insecurity has negatively impacted our lives and our region, we ask the authorities to do everything possible to eradicate this insecurity which is costing us dearly. They killed our husbands, we have become widows, they burnt our grain stores, they took away all our livestock, so we have no life left,” a resident of Inates said.
Niger is being hit by insurgents linked to Al-Qaeda or the so-called Islamic State (IS), crossing from Mali and Burkina Faso in the west, and by Boko Haram, crossing from Nigeria in the southeast.
Thousands of people have been killed, and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.