Niger villages attacked

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NigerAt least 20 people died during attacks by unidentified gunmen on villages in the Tillaberi region of western Niger, the region’s governor said.

Ibrahim Tidjani Katchella told national radio Saturday’s attacks were carried out by assailants on motorcycles.

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.

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