NIAMEY, NIGER - A night raid blamed on Boko Haram has left a dozen villagers dead in southeastern Niger on the frontier with Nigeria, a local official said Saturday.
The attack on Friday night in the border district of Gueskerou, is the latest to hit the Diffa region near Lake Chad, which is crisscrossed by militant groups and traffickers who murder and kidnap people in local communities as they compete for money and influence.
"Twelve villagers were killed on Friday at around 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) by Boko Haram elements," a local elected official told AFP. He said eleven of those killed had been shot, but did not give further details.
The Gueskerou area, abutting the Komadougou Yobe river that provides a natural frontier between Niger and Nigeria, has been exposed to years of killings and kidnappings at the hands of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.
In March, two attacks in the area left eight civilians and seven police dead.
Boko Haram, loosely translated as "Western education is banned", wants to create a hardline Islamic state.
A regional military coalition is battling the group, but at least 27,000 people have been killed in Nigeria alone.