Benin – Two police officers were killed when armed men attacked a police station in northern Benin early on Sunday, sources told AFP.
Another officer is seriously injured and “in intensive care”, while two attackers were killed in exchanges of fire, a police officer in the Atakora department told AFP.
“The Dassari police station was attacked in the early hours of Sunday morning. Armed men burst in but the reaction on our side was swift,” the officer added.
The toll was confirmed by another source with knowledge of security issues in northern Benin who wished to remain anonymous.
Bullet holes were visible on the walls of the police station on Sunday morning alongside bloody clothes scattered on the ground, a resident who visited the scene told AFP. His identity is being withheld for security reasons.
“The police officers there were in shock,” he added.
Contacted by AFP, the Beninese government had yet to comment by early Sunday afternoon.
The Benin government said the country had suffered around 20 attacks by armed groups, in the first official tally released in May.
The West African country borders Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, where a years-long jihadist campaign has claimed thousands of lives and driven more than two million people from their homes.
Benin’s first known fatal attack was last December when two soldiers were killed near the troubled frontier with Burkina.
The government responded by announcing increased military deployment in the north to protect the border.
Armed incursions by jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group from troubled Sahel nations have also affected Ghana and Ivory Coast, strengthening fears of a southwards push from the Sahel towards the Gulf of Guinea.