Six French aid workers killed by Islamist gunmen in Niger

From the Times and the Guardian

Gunmen on motorcycles killed six French aid workers, a Nigerien guide and a driver in a wildlife park in Niger on Sunday, officials said.Some were employees of the French aid organisation Acted.

According to Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella, governor of the Tillaberi area in the former French colony, the group was in an off-road vehicle four miles east of Kouré, a site popular with tourists for its rare west African giraffes, when men appeared on motorcycles.

“Most of the dead were shot and a woman who managed to flee was caught and her throat was cut,” a local official said. “We don’t know the identity of the attackers but they came across the scrubland and were awaiting the arrival of the tourists.”

The guide and driver of the vehicle, which belonged to Acted, were local men. Pictures of the scene showed bodies lying near a burnt vehicle with bullet holes in its rear window. The Association of Koure Giraffe Reserve Guides issued a statement describing the attackers as a “unit of terrorists” and said the dead included its president, Kadri Abdou.

The aid workers had been working for several months in Niger. They were on their way to a nature reserve to see the giraffes near Niamey, the capital. French media said that they appeared to have fallen into an ambush laid by the Islamists, who were clearly waiting for them on the road. Who told them a party was on its way to the giraffe reserve?