Lome – Around 15 assailants were killed during a “terrorist” attack last week in the north of Togo that also left eight soldiers dead, a minister said on Wednesday.
Togo’s troops are deployed in the north of the country to try and contain a jihadist threat pushing south from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger where militants linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group operate.
In the early hours of May 11, about 60 gunmen on motorcycles launched a “violent terrorist attack” on a military post in Kpinkankandi – near the border with Burkina Faso – killing eight Togolese soldiers and wounding 13, the government said at the time.
Togo’s security minister General Damehame Yark on Wednesday evening said that “according to well-informed sources, there were about 15 dead in the group of attackers”.
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“(The attackers) quickly transported the bodies across the border where they were buried,” Yark said on national television.
Soldiers had foiled an attack in November last year in the northern village of Sanloaga, making last week’s attack the first to have casualties.
Violence from armed groups and criminal networks is on the rise across West Africa.
In three years, the region has suffered more than 5,300 terror-related attacks claiming around 16,000 lives, Ghanaian defence minister Dominic Nitiwul said earlier this month during a meeting of West African defence chiefs.
The uptick in violence has also elicited concern from the European Union.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said last week the Togo attack “shows that the terrorist threat is spreading” to coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea.
“Efforts must be redoubled to stop it before it is too late,” Borrell warned.