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At least 100 dead after extremist attacks on two villages in Niger

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Security forces in Niger after attacks on two villages
Security forces in Niger after attacks on two villages   -   Copyright  TELE SAHEL via AP
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At least 100 people have died after Islamic extremists attacked two villages in Niger near the border with Mali, the country's prime minister said on Sunday.

Prime Minister Brigi Rafini travelled to the two villages of Tchombangou and Zaroumdareye a day after the attack.

“We came to provide moral support and present the condolences of the president of the republic, the government and the entire Niger nation,” he said.

The villages were attacked on Saturday after locals killed two fighters, officials said. They are located in the insecure Tillaberi region.

Euronews
A map shows the villages attacked by extremists.Euronews

The attack occurred as officials said that presidential elections would head to a second round. Some 7.4 people were registered to vote to elect the successor to President Mahamadou Issoufou who is stepping down after two terms.

A second round is needed after none of the 28 candidates won a majority.

Niger has endured several attacks by Islamic extremists, including the Nigeria-based Boko Haram, and fighters linked to the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.

Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced, despite the presence of thousands of regional and international troops.

While jihadists in the region pose a growing threat, the West African country is expected to see its first democratic transition of power since independence from France in 1960.