6 January 2021 - Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger

Deadly start of 2021 for children in Sahel, Save the Children calls for their protection


At least 17 children and possibly more are among the dead in three separate attacks in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in the first week of January, highlighting the deadly risks children face in the region.

Three deadly attacks in the first week of 2021 mark the danger for children in the Sahel region, as a spike in violence has killed dozens of people, including at least 17 children, possibly more. Save the Children urges warring parties to ensure that children are protected from harm and that they can continue their schooling even if they had to flee violence.

At least 20 people were reportedly killed this weekend in Mali in a reported airstrike. In Northern Burkina Faso on Tuesday, 6 people were killed when armed fighters attacked a village. 100 people were killed in Niger on Saturday, including at least 17 children in two western villages in the country, after an attack by armed groups. 

Amavi Akpamagbo, Country Director for Save the Children in Mali said: 

“In at least two of these attacks, children were reportedly killed. But even if children are not directly harmed by the violence, they are losing their parents, their family members, their teachers. They are driven from their homes and schools; they have to leave friends behind. All these things have a deep and possibly long lasting impact on children. 

“We strongly condemn the killing of children in the on-going conflict in the Sahel region. Governments and armed groups have an obligation to ensure that children, their families and their communities are properly protected from this ongoing threat. As well as being forgotten among victims at times, children do not always benefit from adequate psychosocial support to enable them to continue a normal life in their communities. 

“Children living in the Sahel region who are impacted by the armed conflict are in dire need of protection and measures must be taken to ensure their safety, their access to education and other basic needs like food, clean water and shelter. We also urge the governments and donors in the regions to fully fund the protection of children, ensuring they and their families have access to mental health support.” 

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