Seventeen troops died in a jihadist ambush in Niger, the federal government mentioned, in a reminder of the nation’s deep safety disaster as its navy rulers face off in opposition to neighbours decided to reverse final month’s coup.
A military detachment was “the sufferer of a terrorist ambush close to the city of Koutougou” within the Tillaberi area close to Burkina Faso on Tuesday, mentioned a defence ministry assertion printed later that day.
It added that one other 20 troopers had been wounded, six severely, with all of the casualties evacuated to the capital Niamey.
Greater than 100 assailants, who had been travelling on motorbikes, had been “neutralised” throughout their retreat, the military mentioned.
A jihadist insurgency has plagued Africa’s Sahel area for greater than a decade, breaking out in northern Mali in 2012 earlier than spreading to neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso in 2015.
The so-called “three borders” space between the three international locations is frequently the scene of assaults by rebels affiliated with the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda.
The unrest throughout the area has killed hundreds of troops, law enforcement officials and civilians and compelled tens of millions to flee their properties.
Anger on the bloodshed has fuelled navy coups in all three international locations since 2020, with Niger the most recent to fall when its elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, was ousted on 26 July.
Alarmed by the cascade of takeovers, the West African bloc ECOWAS has warned of doable navy intervention to reinstall Bazoum, who’s being detained within the presidential compound in Niamey.
Army chiefs of the Financial Neighborhood of West African States (ECOWAS) are to fulfill in Ghana on Thursday and Friday to observe by means of a call by their leaders final week to deploy a “standby pressure to revive constitutional order” in Niger.
Analysts say an intervention could be militarily and politically dangerous, and the bloc has declared that it prefers a diplomatic final result.
Talks have taken place this week in Addis Ababa, gathering ECOWAS and Niger representatives underneath the aegis of the African Union.
On Tuesday, Niger’s military-appointed civilian prime minister, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, made an unannounced go to to neighbouring Chad — a key nation within the unstable Sahel however not a member of ECOWAS.
He met President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, handing over what he described as a message of “good neighbourliness and good fraternity” from the pinnacle of Niger’s regime.
“We’re in a technique of transition, we mentioned the ins and outs and reiterated our availability to stay open and discuss with all events, however insist on our nation’s independence,” Zeine mentioned.
Bazoum’s election in 2021 was a landmark in Niger’s historical past, ushering within the nation’s first peaceable switch of energy since independence from France in 1960.
He survived two tried coups earlier than being toppled within the nation’s fifth navy takeover.
ECOWAS has utilized a raft of commerce and monetary sanctions whereas France, Germany and the US have suspended their support programmes.
The measures are being utilized to one of many poorest international locations on this planet, which frequently ranks backside of the UN’s Human Growth Index, a benchmark of prosperity.
Niger can also be dealing with a jihadist insurgency in its southeast from militants crossing from northeastern Nigeria — the cradle of a marketing campaign initiated by Boko Haram in 2010.
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