Jihadist attack near Mali border kills 29 Nigerien soldiers amidst growing security concerns

Attack by Jihadists Claims Lives of 29 Nigerien Soldiers

Niger’s military junta confirmed a tragic loss of at least 29 Nigerien soldiers in an attack carried out by jihadists near the country’s border with Mali. This incident marks a distressing development in their ongoing struggle to combat a series of attacks.

More than 100 extremists used homemade explosives to target Niger’s security forces stationed at the border area on a clearance operation. Niger’s Defense Minister, Lt. Gen. Salifou Mody, reported this assault as the second such attack against Nigerien soldiers in a week.

In the month following the military takeover in Niger, violence, primarily linked to extremist groups, surged by more than 40%, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project. Jihadi attacks targeting civilians quadrupled in August compared to the previous month, and attacks against security forces increased in the Tillaberi region, resulting in the deaths of at least 40 soldiers.

Defense Minister Mody expressed, “This attack unfortunately caused the loss of several of our valiant soldiers.” The provisional assessment indicated that 29 soldiers lost their lives, while several dozen terrorists were neutralized. Additionally, fifteen motorcycles were destroyed, and a significant quantity of weapons and ammunition was seized.

The junta, which assumed power following a July coup against Niger’s democratically elected government, declared a three-day national mourning period for the fallen soldiers. They repeated claims of “destabilization operations” conducted by “certain foreign powers with the complicity of Nigerien traitors,” although without providing further details or evidence.

Under increasing pressure since the coup against Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, the junta pledged to make all necessary efforts to ensure the security of people and their property throughout the national territory.

Niger has been contending with a jihadi insurgency associated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group for several years. However, the junta’s ability to enhance Niger’s security has come into question as attacks have escalated since the overthrow by mutinous soldiers in July.

Niger was once considered one of the last democratic nations in Africa’s Sahel region that Western nations could partner with to combat the jihadi insurgency in the vast region below the Sahara Desert. The United States, France, and other European countries had invested substantial resources in bolstering the Nigerien military.

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