December 28, 2009 / 2:57 PM / 9 years ago

Three Saudis killed by gunmen in remote Niger: govt

A commander of the rebel Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ) inspects troops in the desert in northern Niger, January 13, 2008. REUTERS/Phuong Tran

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Three Saudi Arabian citizens were killed by unidentified gunmen on Monday while travelling in a car near Niger’s border with Mali in West Africa, a Niger government spokesman said.

Three other people in the group of eight travellers were seriously wounded in the attack and transported to hospital in Niamey, Transport Minister Kassoum Moussa said on state radio.

The group was made up of six Saudi nationals and two Malians and was travelling to Mali.

“Niger’s government deplores these barbarous acts that were unfortunately perpetrated on its territory, and offers its condolences to the Saudi government,” he said.

The attack, near the village of Djambala, comes in a restive zone where Tuareg rebels and al Qaeda cells are active.

In December 2008, a Canadian diplomat, Robert Fowler, his assistant and their driver were taken hostage by al Qaeda operatives and were held until April.

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