Nigerien soldiers killed in suspected jihadist attack

by MMC
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Seven soldiers were killed in southwestern Niger on Thursday in an attack by suspected jihadists, and five others died in a road accident while trying to respond to the assault.

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These deaths come as a former colonial power France is preparing to withdraw an anti-campaignterrorism military stationed in the country at the request of its new military leaders, who took power in a coup two months ago.

NigerDefense Minister Salifou Mody said in a statement that a military unit was “violently attacked by several hundred terrorists” on Thursday in the town of Kandadji, adding that seven soldiers were killed in the fighting.

“During an intervention” launched in response to the attack, “a tragic road accident resulted in the loss of five of our brave soldiers,” he continued.

Seven other people were injured and taken to a hospital, he said.

“A search and combing operation is currently underway to track down the enemy,” said the minister.

The Tillabéri region, where the attack took place, is located in the so-called “three borders” zone where Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali meet. The area is a hideout for jihadists, particularly those affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

In the southwest of the country, where it shares a border with Nigeria, the country is also plagued by attacks from Boko Haram and its splinter branch, the Islamic State in West Africa Province.

French withdrawal

The leaders of the coup that overthrew Niger’s elected government at the end of July cited the deterioration of the security situation in the country as justification.

According to the NGO Acled, the number of deaths in jihadist attacks in Niger has increased since the generals took power.

In mid-August, at least 17 soldiers were killed and 20 wounded in a suspected jihadist attack near the border with Burkina Faso.

It was the deadliest known attack in the country since the coup.

France is currently preparing to retire — as demanded by the post-coup government — a contingent of 1,500 soldiers stationed in Niger as part of an anti-jihadist deployment in the Sahel region.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the withdrawal would be completed by the end of the year, while asserting that the country’s authorities after the coup “no longer wanted to fight terrorism.”

The coup against the democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum It is the third such putsch in the region in as many years, following similar actions in Mali and Burkina Faso, both formerly French colonies.

Previous coups also forced the withdrawal of French troops, and all three countries have been targets of jihadist attacks for several years.

The United States, which has around 1,100 troops in Niger, said it would “evaluate” its future measures following France’s announcement of the withdrawal of its troops.

(AFP)

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