71 soldiers killed by Muslim terrorists in mass ambush on Niger military base near Mali border
BREAKING: At least 71 Nigerien soldiers were killed when about 100 Muslim terrorists ambushed an army camp in the west of the country, near the Mali border.
In a televised statement, a defense ministry spokesman said “a substantial number of terrorists were neutralized” in the attack, which also left 12 military personnel wounded and others missing.
Earlier in the evening, a tweet sent from President Mahamadou Issoufou’s account had announced that he was returning early from an overseas trip in Egypt following developments near Niger’s border with Mali.
The large attack took place in a remote area of Niger where Muslim terrorists linked to ISIS have long been active.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which is believed to be the deadliest against Niger’s military in living memory.
Niger is part of a five-nation task force known as the G5, set up in 2014 with Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Chad.
Thirteen French soldiers were killed in Mali last month when two helicopters collided during an operation against fighters in the country’s restive north, in the heaviest single loss for the French military in nearly four decades.