Niger river
© REUTERS/Joe Penney
The Niger River in Niamey, Niger.
Gunmen on motorcycles killed six French tourists and a Nigerien tour guide and driver in Niger on Sunday, AFP reported, citing a local governor.

The attackers struck in the West African country's Kouré area, the agency quoted the governor of Tillaberi, Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella, as saying.

The French foreign ministry said "checks are underway" into the reports of the attack. There was no immediate comment from the government in Niger.

The French government warns people against traveling to large parts of Niger outside the capital, Niamey, where militant groups including Boko Haram operate.

The Koure Giraffe Reserve southeast of Niamey is a popular attraction in Niger, a country of some 22 million people.

A former colonial power in the region, France launched a coalition of West African and European allies in June to fight Islamist militants in the Sahel region that includes Niger.

It has deployed thousands of troops in the arid region south of the Sahara desert since 2013. But violence by groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State has been on the rise.