The Takfiri Boko Haram terrorist group has attacked a military post in southern Niger, killing 16 soldiers and wounding nine more, the Nigerien Defense Ministry says.
During the assault late on Tuesday, “the positions of our defense and security forces in Baroua, in the Diffa region, were attacked by several hundred Boko Haram elements that came from Lake Chad,” Defense Minister Alkassoum Indatou said in a statement on Wednesday.
In the resulting firefight, about 50 of the Daesh-linked Boko Haram terrorists were killed and a large quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered, according to the statement.
The Diffa region has been hosting Nigerian refugees fleeing terrorist violence in the northern states of Nigeria since 2013, according to the United Nations (UN).
The attack came only two months after around 6,000 people returned to the Baroua area in June after fleeing violence in 2015, under a program to encourage around 26,000 inhabitants of the region to leave safer villages or UN camps and go back to their homes.
Even though the authorities said they had reinforced security to provide returnees with greater protection, the area has been the target of frequent armed attacks by militants in the region.
Niger, the world’s poorest country by the benchmark of the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI), has been battling the Boko Haram terrorist group since 2009. The violence has also entangled Chad, Nigeria, and Cameroon in the Lake Chad Basin.
Nigerian troops are fighting a 12-year militancy by the Takfiri Boko Haram terrorist group in the northeast, herder-farmer tensions and banditry in the northwest, and separatist agitations in the southeast. On August 16, at least 37 civilians were killed in an attack by Boko Haram on a village in Nigeria. Two weeks before, 15 soldiers had been killed in an ambush by the group.