Supporters of the military junta demonstrate in front of a French military base in Niamey on August 11. STRINGER (REUTERS)
At least 17 soldiers from the Niger army were killed on Tuesday and 20 were wounded in an attack carried out by members of a jihadist group in the west of the country, near the border with Mali, according to the Defense Ministry. A detachment of the Nigerien Armed Forces was ambushed near the town of Koutougou, while traveling between Boni and Torodi. Since the coup d’état on July 26, which led to the fall of President Mohamed Bazoum and the rise to power of a military junta, jihadist groups have intensified their attacks against the Nigerian army, which they have attacked up to eight times.
The Ministry of Defense has reported that all the injured, including six seriously, have been transferred to Niamey, the country’s capital, by helicopter and that a persecution operation has been launched against the attackers. The ambush took place in the Tillabéri region, in what is known as the Three Borders area, the epicenter of the jihadist violence that is shaking Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. A few hours later another terrorist attack took place: dozens of armed men on motorcycles entered a town shooting at the population. The Government has not reported on the victims of this latest attack.
Salafist groups faced
Last Monday, also in the area of the Three Borders, the Nigerian army faced another attack by a jihadist group with the result that six soldiers and 10 terrorists were killed. These types of attacks have intensified on Nigerian soil since the military coup on July 26. Sources close to the Niger army say that the two main Salafi groups operating in the region and that are at odds with each other, the Islamic State of the Sahel and the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM), are trying to take advantage of the instability generated. in the Armed Forces to “mark their territory”. The ousted President Bazoum had launched a strategy of dialogue and negotiation with the different armed groups that had managed to reduce the intensity of the attacks.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – the regional body led by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, which has threatened a military intervention in Niger to return power to civilians – has reacted to these attacks by urging the Nigerian military junta, the National Council for the Protection of the Fatherland (CNSP), to “restore constitutional order so that they can focus their attention on the security of the country, which has been weakened in the first place by the attempted coup against the democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum”. ECOWAS also strongly condemns the attacks and conveys its condolences to the families of the victims and the Nigerien people.
The heads of the armies of the ECOWAS countries meet this Thursday and Friday in Accra, the capital of Ghana, with the aim of advancing in the activation of a military force to intervene in Niger, as ordered by the summit of heads of state held last week. Said meeting was scheduled for Saturday, but had to be postponed for “technical reasons.” So far, Nigeria, Senegal and the Ivory Coast have announced their willingness to contribute troops to this military force, which would have French support, while, on the other side, the military regimes of Mali and Burkina Faso have announced their support for the military coup in Niger in the event of the aforementioned military intervention,
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
To give continental legitimacy to this possible military intervention, which seeks to restore Bazoum to power, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) met last Monday. However, two days after this meeting, the official position of this body is still unknown, which, according to diplomatic sources, reveals serious discrepancies among the members of the AU. On the one hand, they want to stop the wave of coups (eight in three years) but, on the other, they are not in unanimous agreement regarding a military intervention. The meeting, in fact, lasted 10 hours and was one of the most difficult in recent years, according to the source.
Follow all the international information on Facebook and Twitteror in our weekly newsletter.
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits
#soldiers #killed #terror #attack #western #Niger