89 Niger soldiers killed in extremist attack on camp

NIAMEY (AFP) – An extremist attack on a military camp in western Niger a few days ago left 89 soldiers dead, according to a new toll announced by the government on public radio last Sunday.

“After a thorough search, the toll has been established as 89 dead among friendly forces, and 77 dead for the enemy,” said spokesman Zakaria Abdourahame.

Three days of national mourning have been declared to honour the dead.

The previous toll given for last Thursday’s attack on the Chinegodar camp was 25 soldiers killed.

Heavily armed assailants had stormed the military base in an area where dozens also died in a previous extremist attack.

The raid near to the volatile frontier with Mali was carried out by attackers in vehicles and on motorbikes.

The attack happened in the same region Tillaberi, also bordering Burkina Faso, where 71 Niger soldiers were killed in a December attack, claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, that saw hundreds of extremists storm a camp near the border with Mali with artillery.

The latest attack is the deadliest on Niger’s military since extremist violence began to spill over from neighbouring Mali in 2015.

The December attack spurred leaders of the G5 Sahel nations to call for closer cooperation and international support in the battle against the extremist threat.