Authorities in Nigeria suspect jihadists are behind an attack which led to the death of 20 people in a refugee camp in Malian in the Tassara commune of Niger. Most of the people who were killed are Nigerian soldiers.
There were forty assailants who were presumably from Islamic Maghreb’s Al-Qaeda. They stormed a secure facility which was guarded by the Nigerian military, gendarmes, and guards. They were surprised while having lunch. A source says there was a provisional toll of 20 deaths. There was an injured refugee too as well as a burned ambulance.
There were 13 vehicles and a motorcycle which fled to Mali and the northwest carrying another three vehicles. There was a ground and air tracking unit engaged too while the army was on the spot.
This isn’t the first time that a Malian refugee camp has been the target of jihadists. Just last month, a camp near Ayorou was also hit by an attack. A policeman and a couple of civilians died there. In April, a camp near Tahoua was assaulted, and one policeman died.
There is no group which has claimed responsibility for the present attack or for any of the past strikes either. But, AQIM’s Murabitoon Battalion is suspected since they are the ones who frequently operate in these areas. Additionally, there is an AQIM brigade called Saraya a Nasser which did claim responsibility for the attack on Arlit which is very close to Tassara. There is a fledging group known as ISGS (Islamic State in Greater Sahara) which is currently led by Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, an ex-leader of the Murabitoon, which is also known to operate out of Ayorou. But, the strength of the ISGS isn’t clear right now, and no one knows if they have the ability to carry out such operations like the one that just happened.