Friday July 7, 2017 – Outrage As Nigerien Soldiers Kill 14 Unarmed Farmers Mistaken For Boko Haram Terrorists During Patrol
A senior region official in Niger Republic revealed yesterday that some soldiers on patrol in the remote southeastern part of the country mistakenly killed 14 unarmed civilians during an operation on Wednesday.
According to Yahaya Godi, Secretary-General of the Diffa region of southeast Niger, said Nigerien soldiers were patrolling a militarily restricted zone around the village of Abadam near Lake Chad on Wednesday afternoon when they opened fire on what turned out to be farmers.
“fourteen people are dead. Abadam is a village located in the red zone and has been prohibited for a very long time.
“Any individual seen in the area is considered Boko Haram.”
He said two of the dead were from Niger and the rest from neighbouring Nigeria, where Boko Haram is based and from which the jihadist group has sometimes carried out cross-border attacks into Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
It was not immediately clear why the civilians were in the restricted area and what made the soldiers open fire. Nigerien army officials were not reachable for comment.
One witness said the farmers had just finished eating when gunfire broke out, forcing them to flee.
The incident occurred three days after suspected Boko Haram militants killed nine people and abducted dozens more in southern Niger.
The attack raised concern about Niger’s inability to stop Boko Haram crossing the desert border from their bases in Nigeria.
The Diffa region has seen intense fighting over the past year between Niger’s army and Boko Haram.