Niamey, 11 August 2020 – The Humanitarian Coordinator in Niger, Ms. Khardiata Lo Ndiaye has condemned in the strongest terms the heinous killing of seven members of two international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) and a tourist guide, in the locality of Kouré, Kolo Department, Tillabéry region (about 60 km from Niamey) while they were visiting the giraffe reserve. The Kouré reserve is located in an area considered to be safe and regularly visited by expatriates, diplomats and nationals. « I am outraged and saddened by these killings and on behalf of the humanitarian community in Niger, I extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved families and our colleagues of both INGOs. Nothing can justify the cowardly killing of people who make immeasurable sacrifices and who have chosen to serve the most vulnerable people in need by providing them with the much needed assistance for their survival. We call on the media and users of social networks particularly, to refrain from publishing images and articles that do not respect the memory, dignity and privacy of the victims and their grieving families,” said Ms. Ndiaye.
On 9 August, these aid workers were on their way to the Kouré giraffe reserve when they were attacked and killed by unidentified armed men. Since the beginning of the year, attacks against humanitarian workers and civilians persist in the country despite efforts made by the Government and its partners. Between January and July 2020, about 162 security incidents were recorded in the Tillabéri region of which 93 had an impact on humanitarian activities.
“Instead of discouraging us, these killings strengthen our determination to pursue our mission and to continue assisting the people of Niger. I reiterate our commitment to continue implementing humanitarian activities in support of the government wherever required, especially during these extremely difficult times,” said Ms. Ndiaye.
The Humanitarian Coordinator appealed to all parties concerned to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and to protect civilians. Humanitarian activities are guided by the respect of humanitarian principles; neutrality, independence, humanity and impartiality.
« We very much hope that the Government will make every effort to find the perpetrators of this heinous crime in order to seek legal action and hold them accountable for their actions. Civilians and humanitarians are not a target, and these despicable acts must stop,” said the Humanitarian Coordinator in Niger.
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