By James Tasamba
KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - Niger’s army said Tuesday that it had carried out sweeping operations in the west of the country against armed groups, killing 65 terrorists and destroying 11 bases since last week.
“Various offensives carried out by the Nigerien Armed Forces in the west of the national territory have contributed to disorganizing and weakening the various terrorist groups that were rampant there, reducing them to acts of intimidation and often targeted killings, especially in the western Torodi and south Gotheye areas,” the army said in a statement.
“Since May 16, the army launched sweeping and cleaning operations in these areas leading to the neutralization of 65 terrorists and the destruction of 163 motorcycles belonging to the terrorists,” it said.
Unfortunately, two Nigerien soldiers were wounded in the operations and one vehicle was damaged by an improvised explosive device, it added.
Niger like Burkina Faso has been struggling with violence which spread from neighboring Mali.
The violence has led to the displacement of populations in some villages in the western region.
The operations are ongoing without interruption, the army said, in order to allow displaced populations in the affected areas to return to their homes.
After meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the capital Niamey on Monday, Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum commended his country's military cooperation with Germany as a model for other partnerships.
The Niger leader hailed Germany's decision to prolong “Operation Gazelle” under which it trains Niger's special forces.
Roughly 200 German soldiers are involved in the mission, which has been operational since 2018 as part of the EU training mission.
About 500 special forces of the Nigerien army have been trained to fight insurgency.
Scholz visited Bundeswehr soldiers stationed in Niger on Monday, on the second day of his Africa trip, which also took him to Senegal and South Africa.