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01/06/2021 Niger (International Christian Concern) – As Niger continues its election season, violence by unknown gunmen took the lives of nearly 100 civilians in two villages. Security sources told news agencies that on Saturday Januaary 2, that at least 70 civilians, though the number may have been as many as 90, had been killed in simultaneous attacks by suspected fighters on the villages of Tchombangou and Zaroumdareye. Another 20 people were also injured during the attacks. Those killed and injured were most likely Muslims as the population of Niger is vastly Islamic.

The area where these attacks took place are near the border between Mali and Niger. This means that it is likely that Islamic extremists from Mali crossed the Border and attacked these villages. Jihadists have had control over much of Northern Mali since a coup attempt in 2012. Due to this control, they have been able to recruit, train and equip fighters for nearly a decade. From there, they have pushed these fighters into Niger and Burkina Faso, where they have caused chaos and destruction.

If these recent attacks in Niger were not conducted by a group from Mali, it may have been due to the election as well. Violence throughout Africa is common during elections as different factions vie to see their candidate put in office.

No matter the reason for the attack, violence like this is an atrocity. As violence continues to grow, it will also negatively affect the minority Christian community of the country. Please pray that those responsible for this attack would be found and held accountable and that Christians would remain safe during this time.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].