The death toll in the coordinated raids on villages in southwestern Niger, near the Malian border, on Sunday has risen to 137.
The Nigerien government revised the toll in a statement on Monday, up from a previous estimate by local authorities of around 60.
“In the afternoon of Sunday March 21, 2021 at around 1 p.m. (1200GMT), the localities of Intazayane, Bakorat, Wirsnat and several other hamlets and camps located in the department of Tillia, Tahoua region, witnessed an attack perpetrated by armed bandits,” said the statement read on national TV by government spokesperson Abdourahamane Zakaria.
At least 137 people were killed and several others were injured, Zakaria said, adding that “reinforced security and health measures have been taken in the area and an investigation has been opened”.
He also announced a three-day national mourning to pay tribute to the victims.
According to Zakaria, this is the second deadly attack on Nigerien civilians in a week. On March 15, unidentified gunmen attacked and killed at least 58 civilians returning from a weekly market in the Banibangou department, Tillaberi region, near the Malian border.