Eleven soldiers were killed and nine were reported missing in a jihadist attack on an army post in Danie, western Niger, in an area where 69 civilians were killed in an ambush last week, the government said.
The attack by “a phalanx of heavily armed terrorists riding in several vehicles and dozens of motorcycles” killed eleven soldiers and wounded one, according to a Defense Ministry statement read on state television.
“After fierce fighting, the enemy phalanx was forced to retreat, taking with it its dead and wounded,” the statement said, adding that “air and ground reinforcements sent continue to sweep the area.”
The targeted soldiers were deployed to secure the safety of thousands of villagers who had returned to their communities after the massacre of dozens of civilians by alleged jihadists.
The Nigerian government has declared two days of national mourning since 48 hours after the massacre of 69 villagers, members of the self-defense militia, in an attack in Tilamberi, Nigeria’s “tri-national border” area with Burkina Faso and Mali.
In this area since the beginning of the year, so-called jihadists have escalated deadly attacks on civilians.
According to a former mayor of the area, villagers had recently formed self-defense committees to protect farmers who are a frequent target of militants.
In the Tahua area near Tilamberi, 141 people were slaughtered in March by suspected jihadists in several small villages and camps.
This vast and volatile area of 100,000 square kilometers is located in the “tri-national border” of Niger with Burkina Faso and Mali, the scene of bloody attacks by jihadist groups swearing allegiance to either Al Qaeda or Islamic State (IS) in recent years. .
During a visit to the region in September, President Mohamed Bazoum said that “the enemy is infiltrating among an unarmed innocent civilian population” and “is involved in widespread massacres.”
Source From: Capital