Two soldiers were killed and five others wounded in a “terrorist” attack in southwest Niger, a region that until recently had been spared in jihadist raids, the interior ministry said Monday.
“A detachment of the security and defence forces (FDS) clashed Sunday with heavily armed terrorists in a valley near Dogon Kiria,” the ministry statement said.
“Following intense combat the enemy was pushed back,” it said, leaving two soldiers dead and five wounded, while the “enemy” casualties were not yet known.
It was the second such attack in the Dogondoutchi region which up to now had been spared raids by armed jihadist groups.
In February, two gendarmes and a civilian were killed in an attack by armed men at Bagaji, a village in the region.
Dogondoutchi is near Nigeria but several hundred kilometres from where the Boko Haram jihadists have carried out deadly incursions in the southeast Diffa region of Niger.
On the other hand, Dogondoutchi is near Niger’s Tahoua region where several areas bordering Mali are under a state of emergency from attacks.
Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou has called on the West and the United Nations to come to the country’s aid.
But the presence of French, American and German forces in Niger as well as the UN troops in neighbouring Mali has been unable to curtail the attacks which have been increasing.