SIX European tourists and their tour guide are among eight people who have been killed in a suspected militant attack in Niger. The attack happened in the Koure Giraffe Reserve, an hour’s drive from the city of Niamey in the south east of the country. The governor of the region said the six tourists who had been slain in the savage gun attack were from France. Their tour guide and driver, both Nigeriens, were also killed.
“On the spot, we found a magazine emptied of its cartridges.”
“We do not do not know the identity of the attackers but they came on motorcycles through the bush and waited for the arrival of the tourists.”
The governor of the Tillaberi region, where Koure is located, confirmed the tragic news.
Governor Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella said: “There are eight dead – two Nigeriens including guide and a driver, the other six are French.”
France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was working to verify the reports.
On the Ministry’s website, advice for French citizens says: “The terrorist threat weighing on Niger, in particular outside the capital and near the borders, is high.
“Terrorist movements present in the Sahel as well as in Nigeria and in the lake zone (Boko Haram) are likely to conduct operations in Niger “.
He added: “We are managing the situation. We will give more information afterwards.”
Mr Katiella did not give further details on the circumstances of the attack.
The group was gunned down at around 11.30am local time, according to a source.
The reserve is a famed tourist attraction and hailed as a well-preserved space where tourists can see giraffes roam in their natural habitat.
Niger is home to the last remaining population of the West Africa giraffe, also known as the Niger giraffe.
The subspecies of the giraffe is distinguished by its light-coloured spots.
Koure is popular with foreign tourists looking for an authentic safari experience in West Africa where they can get up close to the dwindling species.
One traveller who visited the reserve said it offers “one of the last chances to meet such great animals in their natural environment”.