This news comment is attributable to Gillian Triggs, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.
We are deeply saddened by the latest reports confirming that six Malian refugees were among 137 people killed on 21 March in Niger’s western region of Tahoua, near the town of Tillia.
Most of the victims in this deadly attack by unidentified armed groups were internally displaced people who had already fled horrendous violence, some of them during 2020.
It is clear that the attacks on displaced people and the communities generously hosting them, were targeted and deliberate.
In addition to the unjustifiable violence meted out against civilians, shelters and granaries were also burned to the ground and cattle stolen or killed. Survivors have nothing left.
An estimated 1,400 people from these villages are now on the move, trying to escape from the violence.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and our partners continue to gather information from survivors, many of whom have been left in shock and mourning. Our teams and partners are monitoring the situation and providing humanitarian aid and counselling to survivors.
We reiterate our call for greater protection of civilians and displaced communities. We also call on the international community to seize the sense of urgency and continue supporting regional efforts to address the root causes of this crisis and help us respond to humanitarian needs arising from forced displacement.