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Niger winning war against Boko Haram, says army chief

Nigerien soldiers patrol along the border near the southeastern city of Bosso, on May 25, 2015. (AFP photo)

Niger's army chief has said that the landlocked West African country is close to winning the war against Takfiri Bako Haram terrorist group.

General Seini Garba told state radio on Tuesday that Niamey forces have achieved great accomplishments in the fight against the Nigeria-based militant group over the past few months.

However, the army chief admitted that the militant group has still the capacity to do great harm to the country.

"We have made tremendous efforts and we have had great results in the fight against Boko Haram," Garba said, adding "We feel we are in the process of winning the war even though the terrorist group still has the capacity to harm."

In October last year, Niger's Interior Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou had said that the main challenge for the military was securing the border with Nigeria.

Boko Haram Takfiri militants have frequently targeted several villages and towns across southeast Niger. Niger's Diffa region, a border area with Nigeria has witnessed several attacks since February, including one in June 2015 in which 38 people lost their lives.

An AFP picture taken on May 25, 2015 shows a sign reading "No future for Boko Haram, long live Niger" on a market in the southeastern city of Bosso, near the border with Nigeria, in Diffa region.

The latest remarks by the military chief come as Nigerien troops backed by fighter jets have been establishing a network around major towns and cities to block militants’ infiltration. 

Niger has joined a regional military alliance alongside Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria to battle Boko Haram elements.

The terrorists have pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri militant group, which is wreaking havoc in several countries, mainly Iraq and Syria.

The Boko Haram militancy began in 2009, when the terrorist group started an armed rebellion against the Nigerian government. At least 17,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million made homeless since then.

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