NIGER: Eight people, including six employees of a French aid group, were killed by gunmen in an area of Niger that is home to the last West African giraffes, officials said.
The gunmen arrived on motorcycles and opened fire, happened at Tillabéri region, a town about 65km (40 miles) from the capital, Niamey.
Officials in the West African country said that the other two deceased were local guide and driver.
“They were intercepted and killed,” Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella, the governor of Tillaberi region, told Reuters news agency.
In a statement, the Association of Koure Giraffe Reserve Guides described the attackers as a “unit of terrorists” and said the dead included its president, Kadri Abdou.
“We are managing the situation, we will give more information later,” governor Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella said, without indicating who was behind the attack.
A source close to Niger’s environmental services said the assault took place at around 11:30 am (1030 GMT) six kilometres (four miles) east of the town of Koure, which is an hour’s drive from the capital Niamey.
“Most of the victims were shot… We found a magazine emptied of its cartridges at the scene,” the source told AFP.
“We do not know the identity of the attackers but they came on motorcycles through the bush and waited for the arrival” of the group.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office earlier confirmed French nationals had been killed in Niger, without providing any additional details. It said Macron spoke on the phone with Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou.