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At least 20 people in western Niger are dead after gunmen attack villages

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At least 20 people were killed in attacks by unidentified gunmen on several villages in the Tillaberi region of western Niger, the governor of the region said on Sunday.

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Ibrahim Tidjani Katchella told national radio Saturday’s attacks were carried out by assailants on motorcycles. He gave no further details.

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Tillaberi is in the tri-border region of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali known as Liptako-Gourma, where Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have strengthened their foothold, making swathes of the arid Sahel area ungovernable.

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France, several European and African countries have set up a new task force made up of special forces to fight insurgent groups in the region alongside the Mali and Niger armies.

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