Niamey – An attack by armed men on a post on Niger’s border with Burkina Faso has left a number of casualties, including deaths, local sources said on Thursday.
“The Makalondi border checkpoint was targeted by a major attack by armed men on Wednesday night and there were deaths and injuries,” a local official said.
The border post – where customs officers, gendarmes and police officers are stationed – lies in a zone frequently targeted by jihadists, although the official did not speculate on the motive of the attack.
The attack was confirmed by a security source who did not give an estimate of casualties.
Another local source said customs officers and civilians were among the dead, adding that the attackers “set fire to vehicles and burnt down buildings used as offices”.
The targeted post is close to Makalondi, the last major town in Niger before the Burkina Faso border, some 100 kilometres (65 miles) southwest of the capital Niamey.
Makalondi lies in the Tillaberi region, which is in the so-called tri-border area – a flashpoint zone where the frontiers of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali converge.
Niger, the world’s poorest country according to the UN’s Human Development Index, has to contend with two jihadist insurgencies.
As well as the attacks in the west from groups such as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS), it also has to deal with Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the southeast, near the border with Nigeria.
On Wednesday, the regional authorities in Tillaberi announced that a number of petrol stations would be closed in several counties in a bid to disrupt fuel supplies for the jihadists, who typically move around by motorcycle or 4×4 vehicles.
The authorities had already closed markets and refugee camps and declared a ban on movement by motorbike in sensitive areas.
Picture: Getty Images