Niger Troops Killed 5 Jihadist Fighters in Southeast, Regional Governor Says

Five Boko Haram jihadist fighters have been killed and two Niger soldiers wounded in clashes in southeast Niger near the Nigerian border, local authorities said Friday.

The military clashed with the jihadist fighters in the towns of Bague and Tchoungoua in the Diffa region on Thursday, the sources said.

“We have two with minor injuries on our side, and on the enemy side, five Boko Haram elements were killed,” said Smain Younous, appointed last month as governor of Diffa.

The Niger soldiers seized four AK-47 rifles from their assailants.

“The defense and security forces control every corner” of the Diffa region, Younous said.

Thursday’s violence came after weeks of calm in the Diffa region, which this year has also been plagued by severe flooding from the Yobe River.

The river forms a natural border with Nigeria, where it rises before flowing into Lake Chad, a vast area full of islets and swamps that serve as a refuge for jihadist groups.

In addition to the Boko Haram threat, Niger also faces frequent attacks by Sahelian jihadist groups, including Islamic State in the Greater Sahara in the west.

The Diffa region is home to 300,000 Nigerian refugees and internally displaced people driven out by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province abuses, according to the U.N.

Niger, the world’s poorest country by the benchmark of the U.N.’s Human Development Index, has been hit hard by the insurgency, which began in northern Mali in 2012.

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