Statement by UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie-Pierre Poirier on attack in western Niger
DAKAR/NIAMEY, 17 March 2021 - “UNICEF condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific killings of civilians perpetrated by unidentified armed groups in the villages of Darey-dey and Sinégogar, Tillabery region, in western Niger, reportedly killing at least 58 people – including six children aged 11 to 17. We are deeply saddened and outraged that civilians, including children, are among the casualties.
“Early in January, in the same region, armed groups carried out coordinated attacks in the villages of Tchamo-Bangou and Zaroumdareye, killing at least 100 people - including 17 children under the age of 16.
“The surge in armed violence across the Central Sahel region is having a devastating impact on children’s survival, education, protection and development. Mounting insecurity along the borders with Burkina Faso and Mali has exacerbated needs in Tillabery region where more than 95,000 people are displaced.
“In recent months, access by humanitarian actors to conflict-affected populations has been hindered. Reaching those in need is increasingly challenging. Violence is disrupting livelihoods and access to social services including education and health care. Insecurity is worsening chronic vulnerabilities. Women and children are bearing the brunt of the violence.
“Niger continues to face a combination of quick onset and protracted humanitarian crises that have been exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some 3.8 million people, including 2 million children, need humanitarian assistance across the country.
“UNICEF continues to work with the Government and its partners in affected communities to provide children and families with essential protection, health care and education services, but additional support and engagement from the international community are urgently required to stop violence and help us reach those most in need.”