Niger declared three days of national mourning after 100 civilians were massacred in two villages in the western region of the country.
A Reuters report stated that the government said an investigation has been launched to find the perpetrators. The government also said reinforcements had been sent to the area near the tri-border region of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali known as Liptako-Gourma.
The attack highlights the fragile security in the West Africa Sahel region, ahead of a presidential election runoff in the country on Feb. 21.
According to witness reports, over a hundred armed assailants on motorbikes surrounded the villages and started firing indiscriminately on Saturday.
They have forced survivors and the population of four neighbouring villages to flee, the United Nations Refugee Agency said in a statement on Monday, adding that at least 1,000 people were on the move from the area, trying to reach the town of Ouallam around 80 km (50 miles) away.
The weekend killings were among the worst in Niger’s recent history.