France investigates killings of French and Nigerien workers in Niger | Voice of America

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French and Nigerien soldiers on Monday searched a giraffe reserve and its surroundings in the Koure region of Niger in search of the killers of six French aid workers.The gunmen, who arrived on motorcycles, also killed the workers’ guide and driver, bringing the death toll to eight.

Aid workers were attacked on Sunday as they walked through the giraffe reserve, a popular tourist spot for expatriates living in Niamey, the capital of Niger, located about 50 kilometers from Koure.

“This heinous crime must not go unpunished, and it will not distract us from our commitment to support the Nigerien people,” ACTED, the non-governmental organization that employed the aid workers, said in a statement.

ACTED director and co-founder Marie-Pierre Caley said in a statement that the group followed safety protocol in reporting their arrival at the reserve after leaving Niamey on Sunday.

Internal army memos seen by Reuters appear to show the attack took place within an hour of their arrival.

According to ACTED, four men and four women, all between the ages of 25 and 50, died in the attack.

The area was not considered dangerous before the attack.

“Until yesterday, the area had not experienced any security incident,” said Frédéric Roussel, ACTED Director of Development.

French aid workers killed in Niger ambush

Armed men on motorcycles killed six French aid workers, a Nigerien guide and a driver on Sunday. The Nigerien defense minister said the group was attacked in a giraffe reserve 65 km from the West African country’s capital, Niamey. The Koure Giraffe Reserve Guides Association issued a statement saying the dead included its president, Kadri Abdou. French television channel TF1 broadcast images, it said, taken from the scene showing the burnt remains of a 4 × 4 vehicle with bullet holes on the side.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although militant violence from terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram is on the rise in Niger.

The French counter-terrorism office has opened an investigation.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “Our determination to combat armed terrorist groups is resolute. The fight continues. “

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