New York, NY, March 25, 2021 — The International Rescue Committee condemns the multiple senseless attacks on civilian populations by armed groups in the Tahoua and Tilabery regions of Niger. In the last ten days alone, three attacks in Banibangou, Tahoua and Abala have caused the deaths of least 200 civilians, including at least 28 children. The attacks have also destroyed productive infrastructure such as granaries, jeopardizing livelihoods in some of the most vulnerable regions of the country.
The IRC has mobilized its teams in Niger who are carrying out assessments for displaced populations and affected families in need of protection support. We are also distributing shelter kits and basic household goods for immediate use.
Aboubakar Pefoura, IRC Niger Senior Emergency Coordinator said:
“We are appalled at the continuous attack on civilians who were just going about their business, fetching water. Not only were 137 civilians killed in this latest attack, 22 of them were children. Civilians should never be a target, especially children, and this fundamental principle must be upheld in conflict situations by all parties. IRC stands with the people of Niger and remains committed to its core mission of delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance in the region, even in the face of rising insecurity.”
Niger is already one of the most insecure regions in the Sahel and has been reeling from years of food insecurity, weather shocks, violence and extremism. In 2019, civilian deaths in the Niger region rose by a staggering 2400% compared to 2016. The UN Security Council should publicly condemn IHL violations by all parties to the conflict and press for independent investigations into breaches of IHL, including full, published investigations of attacks that kill civilians or destroy civilian infrastructure.
The IRC has been working in Niger since 2013. We support displaced populations and local communities in the Diffa, Tillaberi and Agadez regions and play a leading role in the rapid response mechanism in Niger. We provide vulnerable populations with cash transfers, food vouchers and agricultural support, and protection programs for women and children. The IRC’s health response includes screening and treating severely malnourished children and providing health care centers with essential equipment and medicine. Learn more about IRC’s Niger response.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.