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UN expresses outrage over horrific killings in Niger

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By Harrison Arubu

The United Nations has expressed outrage at Monday’s “horrific killings” of as many as 58 civilians in the neighboring Republic of Niger.

Senior officials of the organization, including Secretary General Antonio Guterres and President of the General Assembly, Amb. Volkan Bozkir, reacted to the incident in separate communications on Wednesday.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF ‘) said six children between the ages of 11 and 17 died in attacks by unidentified gunmen in the villages of Darey-dey and Sinégogar in western Niger.

In a statement, Guterres strongly condemned the attacks and urged the Nigerien authorities to “spare no effort to bring the perpetrators to justice”.

Bozkir, who responded on Twitter, called the incident a smock, adding that he was concerned about the effects of these “cruel terrorist acts on crucial humanitarian work.”

They both expressed their condolences to the government and the people of Niger, especially the bereaved families.

Earlier, UNICEF said it was “deeply saddened and outraged” that the victims included civilians, especially children.

The agency recalled that armed groups had killed no less than 100 people, including 17 children, in coordinated attacks in Niger in early January.

“The rise of armed violence in the central Sahel region has a devastating impact on the survival, education, protection and development of children.

“Growing insecurity along the borders with Burkina Faso and Mali has exacerbated the needs in the Tillabery region where more than 95,000 people are displaced.

“In recent months, the access of humanitarian actors to populations affected by the conflict has been hampered.

“Reaching people in need is increasingly difficult. Violence disrupts livelihoods and access to social services, including education and health care.

“Insecurity exacerbates chronic vulnerabilities. Women and children are the most affected by violence, ”UNICEF said in a statement.

Noting that Niger continues to face humanitarian crises exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said about 3.8 million people, including two million children, were affected.

“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 further support and commitment from the international community is urgently needed to end the violence and help us reach those who need it most,” he added. (NOPE)

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