Boko Haram kill 19 Nigeria herders in clashes

Boko Haram have been raiding herding communities, seizing cattle — a valuable commodity in the region — to fund their operations. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 December 2019

Boko Haram kill 19 Nigeria herders in clashes

  • The fighting sparked outside Fuhe village, close to the border with Cameroon
  • The herders tried to repel an earlier attack by the militia and killed one of them

KANO, Nigeria: Boko Haram militants gunned down 19 cattle herders Saturday in northeast Nigeria, civilian militia sources and residents told AFP on Sunday.
Ethnic Fulani herders, besieged by a spate of armed attacks targeting their cattle, pursued Boko Haram, sparking a fierce gunfight outside Fuhe village, near Ngala close to the border with Cameroon.
“The insurgents killed 19 of the herdsmen in the fight,” a militia leader Umar Kachalla told AFP.
Bodies of the slain herders were brought to the police by militiamen, Kachalla said.
The herders had earlier repelled an attack by Boko Haram fighters who invaded the village to steal livestock, killing one of the militants, Mada said.
The herders then decided to pursue the militia and fight them “once and for all,” Mada said, but were overwhelmed.
“The herdsmen were subdued by the better armed Boko Haram gunmen,” he said.
Militants then returned to Fuhe village and burnt homes and food supplies while herds fled, according to Ngala resident Abubakar Yusuf, who saw the dead bodies at the police station.
Boko Haram has increasingly targeted farmers, herders and loggers, accusing them of spying and passing information to the military and the local militia fighting them.
They have also been raiding herding communities, seizing cattle — a valuable commodity in the region — to fund their operations.
Boko Haram and rival Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) are known to operate in areas around Ngala and the neighboring town of Gamboru.
ISWAP has focused on targeting military installations and troops since 2018 while Boko Haram faction is notorious for indiscriminate attacks on civilians.
However, ISWAP has been blamed for a recent increase in attacks on civilians.
In August 2014 Boko Haram seized Ngala and Gamboru, a trading hub, but Nigerian troops retook both towns in September 2015 with the help of the Chadian military.
Despite the recapture of the area, militants continue to launch sporadic attacks, ambushing troops and vehicles, as well as attacking and abducting farmers.
In November last year Boko Haram abducted around 50 loggers at Bulakesa village outside Gamboru.
The decade-long conflict has killed 35,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes.
The violence has spread to neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting the formation of a regional military coalition to fight the militants.


Troops from Niger and France hunt for killers of aid workers in Niger nature reserve

The wreckage of the car where six French aid workers, their local guide and the driver were killed by unidentified gunmen riding motorcycles in an area of southwestern Niger. (AFP)
Updated 10 August 2020

Troops from Niger and France hunt for killers of aid workers in Niger nature reserve

  • Attackers on motorbikes ambushed the group of aid workers as they drove through the giraffe reserve
  • France has 5,100 troops deployed in the arid region south of the Sahara desert

NIAMEY: French and Nigerien soldiers searched through a giraffe reserve and the surrounding area in Niger on Monday for traces of the gunmen who killed six French aid workers, a French military source said.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor also opened an investigation into the incident, in which attackers on motorbikes ambushed the group as it drove through the reserve located 65 km (40 miles) from the capital Niamey — an area considered safe by the Niger government.
The French aid workers were employed by the charity ACTED. A local driver working for the relief group and a guide were also killed. ACTED called the murders “senseless and cowardly.”
“This heinous crime must not go unpunished, nor will it distract us from our commitment to support the people of Niger,” said ACTED, which has worked to help vulnerable populations in the country since 2010.
No one has claimed responsibility for the assault. But France and other countries have warned people against traveling to parts of Niger where militants including Boko Haram and an affiliate of Daesh operate.
“Military operations are ongoing today,” the military source said.
In the clearest sign yet that France believes a militant group was behind the attack, the office of France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor said it was launching an investigation on suspicion of the involvement of a terrorist group.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he shared their families’ grief. “Our determination to combat armed terrorist groups is resolute. The fight continues,” Macron tweeted.
The reserve southeast of Niamey is home to West Africa’s last sizeable population of giraffe in the wild. In the wet season, thick green acacia bushes dot the flat, sandy plains.
It is a popular attraction in Niger, a vast country that borders seven states in an unstable region including Libya, Mali, Chad, Algeria and Nigeria.
France, a former colonial power in the region, has 5,100 troops deployed in the arid region south of the Sahara desert since 2013. The United States also has soldiers based in Niger.
Nonetheless, militant violence has been on the rise.