Paris,Aug.14,2020 French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Friday paid tribute to the six French aid workers killed in Niger on Sunday, as their remains were brought back to Paris.
All of France“ mourns your children,’’ Castex told families of the victims before the six coffins, laid out in a row in a pavilion at Orly airport.
The six, along with their Nigerien driver and a Nigerien park guide, were killed on a visit to a reserve in the country’s Koure area, known for its rare West African giraffes.
“The attack bears all the marks of a terrorist murder,” Castex said.
He drew a parallel with attacks in France by Islamist extremists, such as the killing of 90 people in a gun attack on the Bataclan theatre in Paris in November 2015.
“It is very probably the same hatred, the same cowardice, the same inhumanity that was at work in Niger and at the Bataclan, even if we cannot put a name to the organisation that was behind this odious crime,’’ he said.
A source close to investigations by French anti-terrorism prosecutors earlier confirmed that the evidence seemed to indicate “a prepared and premeditated attack.’’
The French premier said humanitarian organisations must be able to keep working in Niger, and there was no question of ceding an inch of ground to criminal fanatics.
France is also militarily involved in Niger, one of five countries in the Sahel region where its 5,100-strong Operation Barkhane backs up local forces against jihadists.