Islamists kill up to 15 soldiers in southwest Niger, sources say

Leader of one of the Boko Haram group's factions, Abubakar Shekau fires from a weapon in an unknown location in Nigeria in this still image taken from an undated video obtained on January 15, 2018.

Gunmen killed up to 15 soldiers in an attack on a military outpost in a remote part of southwest Niger where Islamist terrorists operate, officials and security sources said.

The attackers raided the post in the village of Anzourou near the border with Mali on Thursday evening, officials said.

“Faced with the strength of the terrorists, the soldiers withdrew to another military position,” Amadou Harouna Maiga, a member of the Union Committee for Peace and Security in Tillabéry, told Reuters.

“Between 10 and 15 soldiers fell and five others went missing,” he said. The committee, named after the surrounding region, is an organisation that monitors local conflicts.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault. A local affiliate of Islamic State has killed hundreds of civilians in a series of attacks in the same area this year.

Thursday’s raid came two days after 69 people were killed in another area near the Malian border about 100 miles away. read more

Armed groups have stepped up attacks in a poverty-stricken, arid zone of West Africa encompassing the borderlands of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso in recent years.

Some linked with al Qaeda and Islamic State have sought to seize control of communities and drive out local and international military forces. Thousands of civilians have died and millions have fled.

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