On Saturday, 15 soldiers were killed in an ambush in southwestern Niger, according to the country’s defence ministry, which blamed the attack on “armed terrorist groups.”
Assailants ambushed a supply mission at 1100 a.m. local time in Torodi commune, and soldiers evacuating the wounded were hit by an improvised explosive device, according to the ministry late on Sunday.
“We regret that unfortunately 15 soldiers were killed, seven were wounded and six are missing,” it said.
Niger, like its neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso, is a frequent target for militant groups linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State, which have grown in strength despite the deployment of thousands of regional, Western, and United Nations troops across West Africa’s Sahel region.
Suspected Islamic State fighters killed at least 100 civilians in raids on two villages in western Tillabery region on Jan. 2 and at least 137 people in coordinated raids in neighbouring Tahoua region in March – among the deadliest attacks in recent memory.