Niger’s army is struggling to contain the spread of armed groups
At least 73 soldiers have been killed and 12 others injured in an attack in western Niger, the army reports.
Niger’s Defence Minister Issoufou Katambe told the BBC that the attack took place on Tuesday in Inates when militants attacked the soldiers in what is believed to be the deadliest attack in several years.
However, Issoufou said “a large number of terrorists” had been “nuetralised”.
No group has claimed responsibility, but militants linked to the Islamic State and Nigeria-based Boko Haram are active in the area.
The attack came just days ahead of the summit in France between President Emmanuel Macron and leaders of the five West African countries to discuss security in the region.
Militant groups are spread across the region and Niger is a member of the G5 Sahel group. Others are Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Chad. These are aiming at tackling the insurgency.