By Felix Tih
ANKARA – Daesh/ISIS affiliate group in West Africa claimed responsibility for an attack on a military camp in Niger that left 71 dead, local media reported late Thursday.
"The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) has claimed responsibility for the deadly raid on the Inates military base in Niger," according to NigerTribune.
It added that ISWAP claimed to have killed more than 100 soldiers.
The attack took place in the village of Inates near the border with Mali, where fighters linked to Daesh/ISIS terror group have long been active.
Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou declared three days of national mourning following the attack.
The attack also prompted French President Emmanuel Macron to postpone a meeting scheduled for next week in the city of Pau, southwestern France, where he and five presidents from the Sahel region were to discuss the future of the French peacekeeping mission in the region.
Macron invited the heads of states after 13 French troops were killed in a helicopter collision in northern Mali on Nov. 25.
On Monday, three Niger soldiers and 14 terrorists were killed in an attack on an army post in the western Tahoua region.
According to reports, Macron wants the West African leaders to indicate their clear position on France's military presence following some anti-French protests.
Niger is part of a five-nation task force known as the G5 -- established in 2014 with Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Chad in the wake of militant attacks.
Niger's Council of Ministers recently extended for another three months the state of emergency declared in 2017 in several regions to fight against rebel attacks.