Politics, Africa

Niger confirms 29 soldiers killed in terrorist attack near border with Mali

Government announces 3 days of mourning starting from Tuesday

Aurore Bonny  | 03.10.2023 - Update : 03.10.2023
Niger confirms 29 soldiers killed in terrorist attack near border with Mali

DOUALA, Cameroon

Niger on Tuesday confirmed the deaths of 29 soldiers in a terrorist attack in Tabatol, near the border with Mali, and announced three days of national mourning.

The Defense and Security Forces (FDS) conducted a military operation and succeeded in neutralizing several dozen terrorists, Niger's Ministry of Defense in a statement read on national television, without mentioning links of the terrorists either to the Islamic State in the Great Sahara (EIGS), or the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militant outfits active in the region.

However, during the operation, an FDS complex northwest of Tabatol was attacked, leaving 29 soldiers dead and two seriously injured, the ministry said, citing preliminary information about the incident.

Terrorist attacks are believed to have been carried out by militants benefiting from outside forces, the statement added.

The attack combined "the use of improvised explosive devices and kamikaze (suicide) vehicles by around 100 terrorists in vehicles and on motorcycles," the ministry explained.

"From September 26 to October 2, 2023, the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) carried out an operation along the border with Mali," the ministry said.

These terrorists "benefited from external expertise" in terms of the communications intercepted by the FDS, it added.

The beginning of the new year was marked by fresh clashes between the EIGS and JNIM, militant organizations active in the Sahel, which includes Niger, according to the UN.

This was the first significant loss of the Nigerian armed forces since the coup against Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.

Meanwhile, the government announced three days of mourning starting from Tuesday following the deaths of 29 soldiers.

The FDS reaffirms its commitment to defending the entire territory against so-called “foreign” forces acting “in complicity with some Nigerians.”

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