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UN says Boko Haram attacks' toll has decreased in Niger

The photo, taken on September 10, 2017, shows United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock (R) speaking with women at a UN camp for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) in NGagam, southeastern Niger, close to the Nigerian border. (Photo by AFP)

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the toll of attacks carried out by the Boko Haram Takfiri terrorists has fallen in Niger.

A total of 141 civilians in Niger were killed, kidnapped or wounded by the terrorist group in 2017, showing a sharp decrease compared to 2016, the OCHA said on Wednesday.

In a new report, the OCHA stated that there were 227 victims of Boko Haram attacks in 2016 as well as 214 casualties in 2015.

The Diffa administrative region in Niger, located in the southeast of the country on the border with Nigeria and Chad, witnessed the most instances of violence.

The Gueskerou district was attacked most, while Kabalewa district had the highest number of casualties, according to the report.

The OCHA report did not give specifics about the number of civilian and military casualties in these attacks.

Boko Haram, which first started its attacks in northeastern Nigeria in 2009, expanded its sphere of terror into neighboring Niger in 2015 after the Nigerian army launched a crackdown against the terrorist group in that year.

The group also operates in other neighboring countries including Chad and Cameroon.

In total, Boko Haram attacks in affected areas of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon have left more than 20,000 people dead and 2.6 million more displaced.

These countries, in response, have launched major offensives against the two Boko Haram factions and their leaders.

Joint troops stationed in Borno state in northeastern Nigeria are targeting Abubakar Shekau in the Sambisa Forest, and Mamman Nur on and around Lake Chad.

On Tuesday, the Nigerian military announced that joint forces had killed scores of Boko Haram terrorists and that hundreds more had been forced to surrender in recent days.

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