From Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has again advocated for a unified action by African countries against terrorism, which he described as a grave security challenge facing the continent.
The President stated this yesterday while reacting to a terrorist attack in Zaroumdareye, a border town between Niger Republic and Mali, in which about 70 persons were reportedly killed.
Condemning the attack and waste of innocent lives by the terrorists, President Buhari described terrorism on the continent as a contagion, which would keep spreading across the region, if no united action is not taken.
According to a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President said the Zaroumdareye incident is another clarion call for united action by African leaders against the menace.
President Buhari said: “I am profoundly shocked by the large-scale death of innocent people at the hands of these callous militants, who have no regard for the sanctity of human life.”
According to the President, “We are facing grave security challenges on account of the evil campaign of indiscriminate violence by terrorists in the Sahel and only united action can help us defeat these vicious enemies of humanity.”
He stated that “terrorism has now become like a contagion of evil that can spread anytime if united action is not taken”.
President Buhari said “instability in one part of Africa had implications for the security of others”.
He noted that “the destabilisation of Libya in 2011 is producing domino effects on the security of other African countries, including Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and others.”
“The looting of Libyan armouries in the aftermath of Gaddafi’s fall has put dangerous weapons into the hands of terrorists and other criminals, who now pose security challenges to other countries,” the President added.
“We are united by common fate and therefore, we must act in concert to defeat these evil men who target innocent people.
No fewer than 70 civilians were killed by suspected militants on Saturday, in the latest attacks to rock the landlocked Sahel nation’s troubled western Tillaberi region, security sources said.
About 49 villagers were killed and 17 people wounded in the village of Tchombangou, said a security source, who requested anonymity.
“The attackers came to surround the village and killed up to 50 people. The wounded were taken to Ouallam hospital,” a local radio station reporter said on condition of anonymity.
A second source, a senior official in Niger’s interior ministry who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said that around 30 other villagers had been killed in the village of Zaroumdareye.
Niger’s government was not immediately available to comment.