The ministry of defence yesterday confirmed that at least 32 soldiers were killed in a clash with Boko Haram militants on Niger’s border with Nigeria. Thirty of the soldiers were from Niger Republic and two from Nigeria. The soldiers were killed when Boko Haram attacked the southeastern town of Bosso.
The Friday night attack also saw 67 soldiers wounded. No casualty figures were given for the militants, but Niger’s defence ministry spokesman said “several (Boko Haram) dead and injured were taken away”. He added:
“The counter offensive conducted early this morning helped (the army) to retake control of all the positions in the city of Bosso.The situation is under control and calm has returned.”
Niger has been the target of frequent Boko Haram attacks in its southeast since February last year, with the radical Islamists also launching raids across the border into Nigeria.
Kano Blasphemy Update: Police Arrest 3 Suspects
At least 20,000 Nigerians have been killed and more than 2.1 million made homeless in Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency. More than 200 school girls are still trapped in the group’s hold in the Sambissa forest.
Casualty figures for Niger are not as clear, but the United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimated in January that insurgent incursions had displaced an estimated 50,000 people within the country.
Meanwhile, Nigerian troops killed 19 Boko Haram militants during fighting in the northeast Borno state, with two soldiers suffering gunshot wounds. That attack was also launched on Friday and a statement from the Nigerian army said that one of those killed was Ameer Abubakar Gana, a Boko Haram leader in the area.
The Nigerian soldiers also destroyed a factory being used to make improvised explosive devices and recovered two anti-aircraft guns along with other weapons and vehicles. President Buhari has restated his government’s commitment to ending Boko Haram insurgency in the West African sub-region with the United Kingdom promising to lend a hand of £40 million in the war against the terrorists.