Niger: France ′kills′ speculate in murders of aid workers | News | DW

Niger: France ′kills′ speculate in murders of aid workers | News | DW

The French Defense Ministry on Tuesday said it had killed a leading member of a group connected to the so-called “Islamic-State” (IS) who had allegedly been involved in a 2020 attack on French aid workers in Niger. 

The speculate was killed on Monday by a French drone strike as he was riding a motorcycle, French officials said.

A French unit was sent on the ground to search the area and formally clarify the man after the airstrike, the military said in a statement. The operation was conducted “in close coordination” with the Niger’s authorities, the statement additional.

The army identified the jihadi as Soumana Boura, one of the IS leaders of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara group (ISGS).

French fight in tri-border vicinity

The French military said Boura’s killing helped to fight the expansion of the ISGS in what is known as the three-border vicinity. It additional that French armed forces “keep determined to fight the armed terrorist groups with their Sahelian partners and their allies.”

The three-border vicinity is located between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali and has been the center of deadly jihadi attacks by IS and al-Qaeda affiliates for years.

Several attacks have repeatedly occurred in the vicinity despite security efforts by authorities, with gunmen on motorbikes fleeing across the border into Mali after their raids. 

French forces have been present in the Sahel vicinity for over nine years. France has recently started winding down its presence there, leaving northern Mali bases and refocusing its presence on the southern cities of Gao, Menaka and Niamey. 

By 2023, French troops in the vicinity — currently around 5,000 — are to be drawn down by about half. 

2020 killings

In August 2020, six French nationals and their two local guides were killed on a visit to a character save in the West African country.

Three armed men on two motorcycles attacked a four-wheel excursion carrying the French humanitarian workers, their Nigerien driver and a guide. They were visiting a wildlife park some 60 kilometers (about 40 miles) southeast of Niger’s capital, Niamey. 

Five of the aid workers, the excursion and the guide were shot dead, and another worker’s throat was slit. 

The attackers then set fire to the car before fleeing. IS claimed the attack a month later. 

Earlier this year, France said its soldiers killed an IS leader, who had allegedly ordered the 2020 attack, in the tri-border vicinity.

Authorities in Niger have arrested 11 people over their suspected involvement in the attack.

fb/rt (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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