Images circulated among journalists and military personnel on WhatsApp showed the gruesome scene of the attack. The group was traveling in a car belonging to the French humanitarian organization ACTED, according to a statement from the Nigerien Minister of the Interior.
The Giraffe Reserve is a popular attraction in Niger, especially on weekends. There are now 600 giraffes there, a remarkable turnaround from 1996 when there were only 49 left.
Niger is home to Air Base 201, a US drone base that was recently completed but may soon be abandoned due to a planned withdrawal of US forces from the region.
While Kouré is in the Tillabéri region, where four US special forces soldiers were killed in an attack in 2017, he is far from the site of that attack, which was on the other side of the capital. It also welcomes many visitors.
“Kouré is an area that has never experienced the slightest security incident, but even in the current context, the worst that one would expect would be the kidnapping of Western tourists, not a direct assassination,” said M Hama.
Cheick Amadou Diouara contributed reporting from Gao, Mali and Omar Hama Saley from Niamey, Niger.