NIAMEY: Around 25 people were killed on Wednesday in a Boko Haram attack on a village in southern Niger and subsequent clashes between the Islamist militants and the army, Niger military officials said.
Fighters from the Nigerian militant group killed five civilians in their initial attack on the village located in the West African nation’s Bosso district. Niger soldiers drove back the militants, killing around 20 of them, the officers said.
“Reactingly quickly, the government’s forces were able to push them back. Most of the Boko Haram elements have been neutralized,” said one of the officers, based in the Diffa border region.
“The situation is under control and we are carrying out clean-up operations,” he added.
Boko Haram has ramped up cross-border attacks into Niger, Chad and Cameroon from its strongholds in northeastern Nigeria in recent months.
Almost a third of Diffa’s nearly 600,000 inhabitants have been displaced by the violence.
A long-awaited 8,700-troop-strong regional task force is set to begin joint operations soon against the Islamist fighters when the region’s rainy season ends, a top United Nations official said late last month.