Six killed in attack on Niger military post: security source

2017-06-01 19:53

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Niamey - Six members of the Niger security forces were killed when heavily-armed attackers ambushed a military position near the border with Mali, a security source told AFP on Thursday.

"There are six dead in this terror attack," he said, indicating that the assault in the southwestern town of Abala was carried out on Wednesday evening by "heavily-armed men" who arrived in 14 all-terrain vehicles.

Four of the dead were national guards and two of them military police, he added, saying the attack happened at 19:00 in the evening.

The source said the security forces were still engaged in a gunbattle with the attackers, with "military aircraft" engaged in "a search and sweep operation to hunt down" any further gunmen.

Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum and several other officials went to the town on Thursday to attend a funeral for the victims, he said.

Abala, which is located in the western Tillaberi region, was one of the areas where a state of emergency was declared in March following a spate of deadly attacks blamed on jihadists from Mali.

Last week, two police officers and a civilian were killed in an attack on a police post in the same region.

The state of emergency was imposed following a string of attacks in Tillaberi and the neighbouring region of Tahoua targeting army posts and refugee camps.

Officials have blamed the violence on Malian jihadists linked to the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) group.

These include an attack in October which killed 22 soldiers during a daring assault on a refugee camp and another attack in February which left 16 soldiers dead and another 18 wounded.

Under the state of emergency, Niamey closed a dozen rural markets and banned the movement of vehicles in many western areas in order to crack down on cross-border infiltrations from its restive neighbour.

Read more on:    niger  |  west africa

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