Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - The terror sown by the twin attacks on two villages in Niger on 2 January (see Fides 4/1/2021), have caused the flight of over 10,000 inhabitants in the region of Tillaberi, in the west.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 10,600 people were displaced after the attack which killed 105 people, 73 in Tchombangou and 32 in Zaroumadareye.
The government of Niger provided initial support to those affected, including food, medical supplies to health facilities and financial assistance to the families of deceased civilians.
Most of the internally displaced people have found refuge in the village of Mangaize with families who already live there in often precarious conditions. According to the United Nations, more than 500 displaced children are currently out of school.
Since 2017, the Tillaberi region has been frequently attacked by terrorist groups based in Mali. Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali are the countries in the Sahel region where the number of displaced persons is growing fastest in the world.
Jihadist attacks are now also being reported from southern Niger. Last month at least 28 people were killed and hundreds more injured in an attack by terrorist group Boko Haram in the southeastern Diffa region of Niger. According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are already 851,000 refugees and almost 2 million displaced people in the region.
Despite the violence of jihadist groups, Niger is preparing for the peaceful handover of power by outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou, who leaves power after two terms in office, and the successor who will emerge from the second round of the presidential elections to be held on February 20. "This is the first time in sixty years that a democratically elected president has passed office to another democratically elected candidate. We are establishing a democratic tradition", underlined the outgoing President who has clearly rejected any hypothesis of changing the Constitution to stand for a third term. "You cannot have strong institutions by playing with the Constitutions", he emphasized. In this context such a change would "have weakened the institutions we are building". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 11/1/2021)