Africa

France’s anti-terror prosecutor to investigate aid worker killings in Niger

Issued on: 10/08/2020 – 13:09

Frances anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation on Monday into “murder in connection with terrorism” over Sunday's attack on humanitarian workers in Niger, in which eight people were killed including six French citizens.

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French humanitarian aid group ACTED said at a press conference on Monday that the eight of its staff killed by gunmen in Niger on Sunday included four women and four men.

"We want to protect the victims' anonymity for now, but we can say they were aged 25 to 50 and included four women and four men," ACTED development director Frederic Roussel told a news conference in Paris.

The prosecutors office is delegating the investigation to the DGSI – Frances internal intelligence agency, equivalent to Britains MI5 – and SDAT, the French polices national counter-terror unit.

French and Nigerien soldiers on Monday combed a wildlife reserve in Niger and the surrounding area for traces of the gunmen who killed the aid workers, a French military source told Reuters.

The unidentified gunmen, who rode on motorbikes, attacked the group in a giraffe reserve just 65 km (40 miles) from the capital Niamey. A Nigerien guide and a local driver employed by ACTED were also killed.

ACTED said in a statement the group had been "senselessly and cowardly murdered by armed individuals".

Thus far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. But France and other countries have warned people against travelling to parts of Niger where militants including Boko Haram and an affiliate of Islamic State operate.

"Military operations are ongoing today," the military source said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he shared the families' grieRead More – Source