Islamic Militants Kill 137 In Niger Republic

The government in Niger says the number of people now known to have been killed in attacks on Sunday by suspected Islamist militants is 137.

Three villages were targeted, close to the border with Mali.

Niger is facing an unprecedented onslaught of attacks by Islamist militants who carry out hit-and-run raids on isolated villages using motorbikes and pick-up trucks.

It has emerged that last Sunday’s attack on three villages close to where the borders of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso meet was particularly serious – with more than 130 civilians killed.

There have been similar attacks on the other side of the frontier, where 33 Malian soldiers were killed a week earlier.

Niger is part of a France-backed alliance of countries in the Sahel region known as the G5.

A contingent of 1,200 soldiers from the Chadian army, considered the region’s toughest, has been deployed to help counter the threat.