UN: UN condemns attack on refugee hosting area in western Niger

New York, US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned the attack against a security post at a refugee hosting area of Tazalit, in the Tahoua region of Niger, bordering Mali, on 6 October, in which at least 22 members of Niger’s security forces were killed and several others injured.

In a statement made available to PANA in New York, Ban expressed deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and people of Niger, and also wished those injured quick recovery.

The UN chief called on the authorities of Niger to pursue and bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. He urged the Government of Niger to further reinforce security around refugee camps and other vulnerable targets.

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which also strongly condemned the attack, the "hosting area" currently hosts almost 4,000 refugees, however none were harmed during the attack.

The UNHCR said the armed assailants were reported to have arrived at the site in two pick-up trucks. Witnesses said that following the attack, the assailants stayed in the area for up to two hours, and looted the health centre, stealing vital medical stocks.

They also burned a UNHCR ambulance, but no UNHCR staff or partners were present when the attack took place.

The attackers also stole a military vehicle and fled, before support arrived.

UNHCR strongly condemned these acts of violence against people who were working to protect and secure the safety of vulnerable Malian refugees, who have been forced to flee their country since violence and civil war broke out in 2012.

The UN agency said it was also troubled by the increasing number of violent incidents in the western regions of Niger bordering Mali, including ambushes, armed robbery and mine incidents.

PANA learnt that, immediately following the attacks, UNHCR sent a team from Niamey to the site to identify needs and provide a response.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  7Oct2016

07 october 2016 19:44:40

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