Niger: 12 Soldiers Killed in Battle With ‘Terrorists’

No fewer than 12 soldiers and “dozens of terrorists” have been killed in a battle in western Niger, the Defense Ministry announced on Sunday, in the “three borders” zone. 

A statement from the Defense Ministry confirmed that another eight soldiers were wounded in the clash with “hundreds of armed terrorists” five kilometers (three miles) from Fantio.

“Several motorbikes used by the attackers have been destroyed and communications equipment recovered” the statement added.

“The soldiers “defended themselves ferociously” killing dozens of the attackers before being overwhelmed by their numbers,” said the ministry.

Reinforcements from nearby positions and air support finally forced the enemy to retreat.

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Fantio is a small rural community in the Tera district of Tillaberio region regularly targetted by terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group.

Five villagers were killed and two others seriously wounded in an attack in May during the Muslim Eid festival at the end of Ramadan, said the ministry.

In late June, two civilians, a school director, and a retired police inspector were killed during another raid, and the killers also stole livestock.

As well as the attacks from terrrorist groups such as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS) in the west of the country, Niger also has to contend with Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the southwest of the country, near the border with Nigeria.

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