More than 30 people were killed in a rebel attack in the West African country of Niger, the Ministry of Interior has said.

The assailants attacked as people were working in the fields, a local official told the AFP news agency.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack but several armed groups linked to al-Qaeda or ISIL (ISIS) are active in the region.

37 people, including 14 children, were killed, according to the ministry.

According to a toll issued last Wednesday by Human Rights Watch (HRW), more than 420 civilians have been killed in rebel attacks in Tillaberi and the neighbouring region of Tahoua this year.

Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes.

“Armed Islamist groups appear to be waging war on the civilian population in western Niger,” Corinne Dufka, HRW’s Sahel director, said in the report.

Among those killed were village chiefs, imams, people with disabilities and “numerous children”, some executed after being ripped from their parents’ arms, HRW said.


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