28 people were killed and 800 homes burnt in an attack blamed on Boko Haram in Niger’s Diffa region on Saturday, Nigerien authorities and the United Nations said.
The government said in a statement that the attack targeted a village of Toumour, less than 20km from the country’s border with Nigeria.
Of the 28 deaths, “10 were from gunshots, 14 by fire, four by drowning and around 100 were wounded,” government spokesman Abdourahamane Zakaria said on Monday, declaring a 72-hour period of national mourning.
Diffa governor, Issa Lemine stated on Sunday that Boko Haram was responsible for the attack.
AFP reported that the group had claimed responsibility in a three-minute video sent to the agency.
The bloodshed in Toumour is among the worst the country has suffered at the hands of the militants, Lemine said.
“It is an indescribable tragedy,” he said, describing scenes of panic after the attack, which hit an area hosting 60,000 internally displaced persons and refugees.
The Islamist militant group has been waging attacks in the region around Lake Chad since 2009, causing about 250,000 people to flee, according to U.N. figures.
The Boko Haram insurgency erupted in northeastern Nigeria, but violence frequently spills over into neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon a little farther to the south.