Remembering 137 Victims of Terrorist Attack in Niger, Pope Appeals for Peace and Justice

Also Recalls World Tuberculosis Day

Pope at General Audience in Library - Copyright: Vatican Media
Pope at General Audience in Library - Copyright: Vatican Media

During the General Audience on March 24, 2021, Pope Francis remembered ”with grief the terrorist attacks that caused the death” of at least 137 people in Niger, and asked for prayers “for the families, so that the violence suffered may not make one lose confidence in the path of justice and peace.”

The Events

As the EuropaPress Agency reported, at least 136 people were the mortal victims of an attack perpetrated by armed individuals against several villages in the Tahoua region, in northwest Niger, near the border with Mali, pointed out the Government’s spokesman, Abdoulraman Zakaria.

He also explained that the villages of the area were attacked on Sunday by unidentified individuals and that a military contingent was sent to confront the assailants. Sources of the Security Forces quoted by Radio France International (RFI) confirmed the attack and the death of at least 130, numbers that have increased with the passage of time. Dozens of assailants arrived on motorcycles and attacked the villages of Intazayene, Woursanat and Bakorat.

National Mourning

In its article, EuropaPress also pointed out that the Niger Government has decreed three days  of national mourning, beginning yesterday, March 23, describing the terrorist act as a “barbarism perpetrated by persons without faith or law.” Last week, 58 other people died in the African country, in an attack against traders of the Tillaberi region, according to the Authorities’ tally.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres “energetically” condemned the despicable attacks perpetrated on March 21 by unidentified armed men in the Tahoua region.” Through his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, he expressed his “profound” condolences to the families, while reiterating the UN’s commitment  “to maintain its support to Niger in its efforts to combat and prevent terrorism, and to promote social cohesion.”

World Tuberculosis Day

The Website of the World Health Organization (WHO) explains that every year World Tuberculosis Day is observed “to raise awareness about the terrible social and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) on health and to speed up efforts to put an end to this sickness’ global epidemic.”

Commemorated on this date is the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacteria that causes TB, which made it possible to diagnose and cure the illness.