Human Lives Human Rights: Exacerbated by instability in the region, an entire generation is growing up surrounded by death and destruction in Niger’s Tillabéri region.
Amnesty International‘s 57-page report, ‘I Have Nothing Left Except Myself’: The Worsening Impact on Children of Conflict in the Tillabéri Region of Niger, documents the devastating impact on children of the conflict in Niger, involving armed groups Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and the al-Qaida-affiliated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM).
Both ISGS and JNIM have committed war crimes and other abuses in the conflict, including the murder of civilians and targeting of schools. Many children are experiencing trauma after witnessing deadly attacks on their villages. In some areas, women and girls have been barred from activities outside the home, and risk abduction or forced marriage to fighters.
Armed groups in Niger have repeatedly attacked schools and food reserves, and are targeting children for recruitment.
According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, violence against civilians has led to 544 conflict-related deaths between 1 January and 29 July 2021 in Niger, already exceeding the 397 people killed in 2020.
Armed groups have killed more than 60 children in Niger’s tri-border area in 2021. ISGS, which operates primarily on the border with Mali, appears responsible for most of the large-scale killing.
Fighters have fired into homes, killing or injuring civilians attempting to hide. One woman and her baby daughter suffered gunshot wounds while hiding at home during a likely ISGS attack.
The FDS withdrew from some border areas after suffering losses to ISGS and JNIM in late 2019, leading to an absence of state authorities. Witnesses to attacks say the FDS often failed to respond, as killing and looting unfolded over several hours.
The Human Rights Organizations calls on the Nigerien government and its international partners to take action urgently in order to monitor and prevent further abuses and protect the basic rights of all those affected by this deadly conflict – especially children.
The Nigerien authorities have failed to protect civilians. Witnesses to attacks described how, despite their urgent calls, Niger’s Defense and Security Forces (FDS) frequently arrived long after killing and looting had ended.
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