Gunmen kill 13 Niger gendarmes in attack near Mali border
Gunmen on pick-up trucks and motorcycles coming from Mali killed 13 gendarmes and wounded five more in an attack on their base in western Niger, security sources said on Saturday, APA reports quoting Reuters.
The village is a few dozen kilometers from where militants killed four U.S. soldiers in an ambush on Oct. 4 that has thrown a spotlight on U.S. counterterrorism mission in Niger, which straddles a large expanse of the Sahara.
Niger’s military officials confirmed the attack and death toll but gave no further details.
The assailants crossed over the border from Mali and drove up to the village of Ayorou, about 40 km (25 miles) inside, before springing their attack, the security sources said.
“They were heavily armed. They had rocket launchers and machine guns. They came in four vehicles each with about seven fighters,” said a security source on the scene.
Reinforcements later arrived and stopped them as they tried to head back into Mali, another security source on the scene said, and a gun battle with the militants was underway.
“Land and air forces are pursuing the assailantswith a view to neutralizing them,” a statement from Niger’s military said, confirming the death toll.
In the initial attack one of the assailants was killed in an exchange of fire but others managed to make off with four Nigerien army vehicles, the first security source said.
Since taking over swathes of northern Mali in 2012, and then being scattered by a French-led counter-offensive the following year, Islamist militants have established themselves in several lawless spaces across the desert.
They have used these areas as a springboard for a wave of attacks that threaten to destabilize much of West Africa. Fighters have inflicted damage on military outposts, killed security officials and civilians, kidnapped Westerners and sometimes mounted high-profile attacks on hotels and resorts across the region, including in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.
Several Islamist militant groups and well-armed ethnic militia are known to operate in the area along the Mali-Niger border, and there have been at least 46 attacks recorded there since early least year.
However, officials suspect many of them, including the ambush on the joint U.S.-Niger patrol, to be the work of a group called Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, led by Arabic-speaking north African militant Adnan Walid al-Sahrawi. He has pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, although the extent of their ties are not well known.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack, or the one that killed the U.S. soldiers.
Responding to its ever growing militant threat, Mali on Saturday announced a year-long extension of a state of emergency across the country.
“I hope we won’t need to continue extending the state of emergency,” Defence Minister Tiena Coulibaly told reporters. “We hope that before 31st October, 2018, order will be restored.”
The increasingly fluid, cross-border nature of the militant threat has forced the Sahel countries to work closer together. In July Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso launched a joint force -- nicknamed “G5 Sahel” -- to try better coordinate policing their deserts.
But it has yet to receive a commitment to more than a fraction of the donor funding that it needs to opera
Related news releases
- 20.01.2018Azerbaijani CEC starts preparations for presidential election
- 20.01.2018President Ilham Aliyev pays tribute to 20 January martyrs
- 20.01.2018Azerbaijan commemorates 28th anniversary of 20 January Tragedy
- 19.01.2018Azerbaijan’s ruling party announces number of its members
- 18.01.2018President Ilham Aliyev signs order on centenary of 1918 Genocide of Azerbaijanis
- 18.01.2018Isa Gambar discharged from hospital
- 17.01.2018One of presidential aide positions abolished in Azerbaijan
- 17.01.2018New appointment made in Azerbaijani Presidential Administration
- 17.01.2018Isa Gambar to stay under medical supervision for a time, cardiologist says
- 13.01.2018Isa Gambar hospitalized for heart problem
- 13.01.2018Office of OSCE Representative on Freedom of Media should avoid taking tendentious approach toward Azerbaijan
- 12.01.2018Azerbaijani ombudsperson issues statement on 28th anniversary of January tragedy
- 11.01.2018Draft law on implementation by Azerbaijan of int'l organizations’ decisions to be tabled in parliament again
- 10.01.2018President Ilham Aliyev signs order to declare 2018 ‘Year of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic’ - UPDATED
- 10.01.2018Azerbaijani president announces 2017 economic indicators
- 10.01.2018Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan witnessed successful, rapid development in 2017
- 10.01.2018President Ilham Aliyev declares 2018 ‘Year of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic’
- 10.01.2018Grandson of famous Azerbaijani intellectual Ahmed bey Agaoglu passes away
- 08.01.2018Azerbaijani parliament denies reports of increase in MP salaries
- 04.01.2018President Ilham Aliyev extends Christmas congratulations to Azerbaijan’s Orthodox Christian community
- 04.01.2018Azerbaijani parliament not to discuss issue of electing new ombudsperson during spring session
- 04.01.2018Azerbaijan approves plan of events to commemorate 28th anniversary of 20 January tragedy
- 02.01.2018The Azerbaijani MFA expresses its attitude towards the events in Iran
- 02.01.2018Date set for Azerbaijani parliament’s first plenary meeting in 2018
- 01.01.2018Congratulatory address of Ilham Aliyev to the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis and New Year
- 29.12.2017Azerbaijani parliament wraps up last plenary meeting in 2017
- 29.12.2017Azerbaijani Parliament to mark 100th anniversary
- 28.12.2017Two more issues included in agenda of Azerbaijani parliament's last session for 2017
- 27.12.2017Rafael Gvaladze awarded honorary diploma of Azerbaijani President
- 25.12.2017President Ilham Aliyev signs order to increase minimum wage
- 25.12.2017President Ilham Aliyev extends congratulations on Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis
- 24.12.2017Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan phoned President Ilham Aliyev
- 24.12.2017Azerbaijani journalists extend birthday congratulations to President Ilham Aliyev - VIDEO
- 24.12.2017President Ilham Aliyev attended groundbreaking ceremony of first building in MIDA Hovsan residential complex
- 24.12.2017Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev turns 56 today
- 23.12.2017India intends to cooperate with Azerbaijan on space
- 23.12.2017New Azerbaijan Party holds conference titled 'At the junction of East and West: New Energy and Communication Opportunities' - UPDATED
- 23.12.2017New excise rates set for goods imported to Azerbaijan
- 22.12.2017Procedure for calculation of old-age labor pensions in Azerbaijan announced
- 21.12.2017Ilham Aliyev: No problem in Azerbaijan on religious and national grounds
- 24.10.2017Turkish soldier martyred in PKK attack
- 25.10.2017AZN 55 mln to be allocated for 2018 presidential election in Azerbaijan
- 25.10.2017Azerbaijani parliament to begin discussion on 2018 draft state budget on Nov. 21
- 20.10.2017Azerbaijani parliament approves amendments on humanization of penalties
- 20.10.2017Azerbaijani MPs voice protest over PACE’s anti-Azerbaijan resolutions
- 20.10.2017MP Seyidov: Attempts being made to drive Azerbaijan out of Council of Europe - UPDATED