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US News: West of Niger: Recent massacres resulted in the birth of self-defense militia

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Unsure absent from Niger, self-defense militias are Appeared in the west of the country on the occasion of recent massacres perpetrated by alleged jihadists: composed of young people without training and poorly equipped, they are just tolerated by power.

Abdoulaye, Longiline, Arc and Carquois silhouette, take a look at the passengers of a vehicle at the entrance of his hamlet near Banibangou, in Western Niger, theater of jihadist group violence linked in Al-Qaeda and the Islamic state.

"I am a member of the vigilance committee" A self-defense group, "he said in early November to AFP, stating that he never ventured far. "I just do the round around the village".

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exasperated by the massacres, rade livestock, abductions against ransoms, targeted murders and extortions of funds, villagers have clouded self-defense militias to withstand the atrocities of armed jihadists.

Last week, a committee of inhabitants of the Tillabéri region, so-called "three borders" zone between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, has again launched a call to the entire population, in particular on valid arms and Good wishes, in order to organize us to defend our region ".

Des habitants portant machette patrouillent dans les rues de Banibangou, le 6 novembre 2021 © Boureima Hama Machete inhabitants patrol in the streets of Banibangou, November 6, 2021

In the first two weeks of November, nearly 100 members of self-defense groups were killed by alleged jihadists in the West Niger.

On November 2, at least 69 members of one of these groups, led by the Mayor of Banibangou, are massacred in an ambush, then on the 16th, they are 25 members of another militia who are in turn killed in a Attack of a camp in Bakorat, in the region of Tahoua, near that Tillabéré.

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A Banibangou of the "young village" "volunteer to avenge their dead and protect their property", tells an ex-mayor of the region. "They are just equipped with arrows, white weapons and surely a few firearms", according to a Banibangou inhabitant.

In the region of Tahoua, a group of self-defense had already manifested after the massacre in March 2021 of 141 civilians, including children, in several localities and camps, already, that of Bakorat.

A video circulating on social networks showed entreurbanned men holding automatic rifles in which they explain "having taken arms against terrorism, following these massacres".

The regime of the Nigerian President Mohamed Bazoum does not formally prohibit these militias, but tolerates them.

- Warnings -

"The Government of Niger does not encourage populations to take up arms to defend oneself, it is a great danger for themselves," recently declared General Mahamadou Abu Tarka, President of the High Authority for peacebuilding (HACP).

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Souley Oumarou, NGO leader Forum for responsible citizenship (FCR) warns against "intercommunity drifts", stressing that "self-defense groups can attack members" of a different community than to which jihadists belong and thus engage a cycle of violence.

After the last massacre of Banibangou, the Nigerian President Mohamed Bazoum had gone on the spot, to declare to the inhabitants "understand" that they are "not satisfied" of the results of the army.

"If you think that can ensure your defense is legitimate, but the one who must provide your defense and on which you must count, it is the state," he added.

In Burkina Faso Neighbor, also the victim of jihadist violence, the government has trained and equipped the volunteers for the defense of the homeland (VDP), supplements of the Burkinabe army. "It did not stop the spiral of terror," says a Nigerian security source.

In an attempt to prevent the creation of militias and strengthen the army, Niamey launched a training and integration campaign in the National Guard of Youth of the Regions affected by "terrorism".

Some 500 of them have already been recruited from the Diffa region, in the South-East, the Theater of Attacks of the Boko Haram Group and the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP), 500 others The region of Tillabéri and Tahoua must soon be, according to a loved one.

BH / STB / JHD

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