Gunmen on motorcycles killed six French aid workers, a Nigerien guide and a driver in a wildlife park in Niger.
The group was attacked in a giraffe reserve just 65 km (40 miles) from the West African country‚Äôs capital Niamey, the governor of Tillaberi region, Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella. ‚ÄúThey were intercepted and killed,‚ÄĚ he said.
The six worked for an international aid group, Niger‚Äôs Defence Minister Issoufou Katamb√© said.
Officials had earlier described them as tourists.
Separately, a spokesman for French humanitarian aid group ACTED said its staff members were involved.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the assault.
But France and other countries have warned people against travelling to parts of Niger where militants including Boko Haram and an affiliate of Islamic State operate.
French President Emmanuel Macron‚Äôs office confirmed that French nationals had been killed in Niger.
It said Macron spoke on the phone with Niger‚Äôs President Mahamadou Issoufou, but provided no further details.
The Association of Koure Giraffe Reserve Guides issued a statement describing the attackers as a ‚Äúunit of terrorists‚ÄĚ and saying the dead included its president, Kadri Abdou.
France‚Äôs TF1 television channel broadcast images that it said were taken from the scene showing the burnt-out remains of a 4√ó4 vehicle with bullet holes in the side.
The reserve southeast of the capital is a popular attraction in Niger, a huge country that borders seven states in an unstable region including Libya, Mali, Chad, Algeria and Nigeria.
Militants linked to Islamic State killed four U.S. soldiers in an ambush in Niger near the border with Mali in Oct. 2017, an attack that increased scrutiny of U.S. counter-terrorism operations there.
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