Soldiers Wounded, Dozens Of Jihadists Killed In Niger Clash

Nigerien soldiers stand guard as supporters of Niger’s National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) gather for a demonstration in Niamey on August 11, 2023 near a French airbase in Niger. (Photo by AFP)

The fighting in southeastern Niger has left 10 soldiers wounded and several dozen Islamist fighters dead, according to the authorities.

Jihadists from the Boko Haram group attacked a special intervention battalion stationed at N’Guigmi airport, a garrison town in the Diffa region near Nigeria’s border, according to Niger’s defense ministry.

The confrontation began approximately 01:50 a.m. (0050 GMT) and lasted about 20 minutes before the attackers were routed to the banks of Lake Chad, according to a ministry statement issued late Tuesday.

The assailants were apprehended by air support when they boarded pirogue canoes on the lake, the report added.

Several dozen “terrorists” were “neutralised” via “surgical” air strikes, according to the statement.

Lake Chad, a huge expanse of water and marshes, lies on the borders of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad.

It has been the target of periodic attacks by jihadist forces from Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

This week’s confrontation between the army and jihadists is the deadliest reported following several months of peace in the region, which has been the target of jihadist strikes since 2015.

In June, seven soldiers died after their truck collided with a landmine in the Diffa region.

According to regional authorities, the area also has thousands of internally displaced people and Nigerian refugees who rely on humanitarian groups, as well as the local population, who are facing food shortages due to drought-stricken harvests.

Niger, which has been led by military officials since a July 26 coup, is among the world’s poorest nations.

It also faces a lethal Islamic insurgency in the west, along the borders with Mali and Burkina Faso.

Written by PH

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