Niamey – Six Niger soldiers have been killed in a “terrorist” attack in the southwest of the country, near the Burkina Faso border, the defence ministry announced on Saturday.
The attack, which took place on Thursday, was the second in ten days marking a return to violence in the region after weeks of relative calm.
“A Nigerian Armed Forces escort mission was ambushed by a group of armed terrorists in the vicinity of the village of Kolmane,” the ministry said in a statement giving the first information of Thursday’s attack.
The defence ministry gave the toll as “six soldiers killed, one injured and a vehicle destroyed,” with the casualties on the attackers’ side “not determined”.
The Tillaberi region, where on Thursday’s attack took place, is a vast area on the borders of Burkina Faso and Mali, which has been the scene of bloody attacks by jihadist movements linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group since 2017.
Last week suspected jihadists attacked a bus and a truck in the southwest, killing 21 people.
That incident marked the renewal of violence in the region after several weeks of relative calm.
Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, in a new approach, has initiated dialogue with jihadist leaders in an attempt to keep the peace.
But the military response continues, with some 12,000 soldiers fighting in a dozen anti-jihadist operations, nearly half of them along the more than 1,400 kilometres of borders with Mali and Burkina Faso.