Suspected terrorists kill 12 Nigerien soldiers

Suspected terrorists kill 12 Nigerien soldiers

Operation by national guard was target of ambush in southwest Niger

By James Tasamba

KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) – At least 12 Nigerien soldiers were killed in an ambush by suspected terrorists in a village in the southwest of Niger, authorities said Tuesday, the latest attack since President Mohamed Bazoum was deposed in a military coup.

An operation by the national guard was the target of an ambush Sunday evening in the village of Anzourou in the Tillaberi region, the province’s military governor, Lieut. Col. Maina Boucar, told national television.

He said an offensive by the national guard “made it possible to inflict a heavy loss on the enemy. Unfortunately, 12 of our soldiers fell” in the battle.

The attack came days after 17 soldiers were killed when gunmen ambushed an army detachment near the town of Koutougou in the Tillaberi region near the border with Burkina Faso.

The military, led by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, the former commander of Niger's presidential guard, deposed Bazoum on July 26, reportedly over a perceived deterioration of security.

The Tillaberi region faces regular attacks by armed groups with links to the al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS terrorist groups spreading from northern Mali.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last week demanded that the military restore constitutional order in Niger “in order to concentrate on the security of the country, which has become increasingly fragile” since President Bazoum was ousted.

On Tuesday, the African Union said it has suspended Niger from all its activities until the army cedes power.

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