Niger’s army accused in disappearance of 102 civilians

NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — Niger’s army is responsible for the disappearance of more than 100 people in the western part of the country late last year, a new watchdog report alleges.

The National Commission for Human Rights spent months investigating the civilians’ disappearance in Inates zone in the Tillaberi region. The group published its report late Friday.

“What happened in Inates must not happen again,” said the group’s secretary general, Ali China Kourgueni. “The rest is now up to the judicial authority.”

The government has received the report, but there has been no response.

The disappearances took place after a deadly attack by Islamic extremists on the military post in Inates in December killed at least 71 soldiers.

“It is not a question of incriminating the whole of the Nigerien army, it is a question of identifying some uncontrolled elements of the army who are to blame for the massacre and disappearance of 102 civilians in the Tillaberi region,” Kourgueni said.

Soldiers in Niger and neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso have been accused of an increasing number of extrajudicial killings and other abuses as they battle a growing insurgency in the tri-border region.

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