109 Boko Haram Fighters Dead in Niger Attack

109 Boko Haram Fighters Dead in Niger Attack109 Boko Haram Fighters Dead in Niger Attack

Boko Haram launched its first major attack in Niger on Friday, triggering a forceful response from regional troops who claimed to have killed more than a hundred of the group’s militants.

The clashes in Bosso and Diffa, along the border with Nigeria, marked yet another expansion of violence attributed to Boko Haram, but it seemed to have come at a heavy cost. Niger’s defense minister reported that 109 of Boko Haram fighters were killed, along with four soldiers and a civilian. Seventeen other troops were wounded, AFP reported.

Chadian forces, who have taken a lead role in battling Boko Haram in recent days, fought alongside Niger troops on Friday. Its commander in Niger, General Yaya Daoud, was also wounded, a security source said.

Niger Defense Minister Mahamadou Karidjo said calm had been restored to both areas. The clashes in Niger came as regional efforts intensified to battle Boko Haram, which has waged a six-year insurgency centered in northeastern Nigeria, where the militants have seized swathes of territory.

Niger announced Thursday that on Monday it would ask its parliament to approve sending troops to Nigeria to fight the militants alongside Chadian and Cameroon soldiers.

Chadian forces have been stationed in Bosso since Monday, a humanitarian worker said, adding that Boko Haram “took the municipality” for a time before being “driven back to Nigeria”.

Other clashes broke out some 10 kilometers from Niger’s Diffa, which is on the border with Nigeria near a bridge that links the two countries. Its control is essential for transporting troops and supplies.