Tens of thousands flee homes in Niger due to jihadist violence

According to both the UN and local authorities, approximately 11,000 individuals in the southwestern region of Niger, which has been impacted by jihadist activities, have been displaced from their homes this month.

“These people are running from violence perpetrated by suspected armed non-state groups found in the Tillaberi region and the tri-border zone,” where Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali meet, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Niamey said.

Between July 3 and July 9, local authorities in Niger reported that a staggering number of over 10,800 individuals from nine villages in the Ouro Gueladjo area “were forced to flee their homes.”

The United Nations agency revealed that the mass displacement was triggered by the killing of two villagers on the night of July 3, accompanied by an ultimatum issued by armed groups, demanding that residents vacate their homes within a 72-hour time frame.

According to local sources, numerous individuals have sought refuge in school classrooms for temporary shelter, while others have been graciously accommodated by host families in the area.

The armed groups have escalated their activities targeting local populations in the border zone with Burkina Faso, employing tactics such as the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), acts of murder, kidnappings, and issuing ultimatums, as reported by OCHA (the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs).

For almost eight years, the Tillaberi region has been afflicted by insurgent groups associated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

According to the United Nations, the expansive arid region, spanning approximately the size of South Korea, is home to an estimated 150,000 internally displaced individuals.

Niger, recognized as one of the world’s poorest nations, is grappling with jihadist violence that has extended into its southeastern regions from northeastern Nigeria.

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