The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for an attack on an army camp in Niger which left 71 military personnel dead, the SITE intelligence group said Thursday.
Hundreds of jihadists attacked the camp, near the border with Mali with shells and mortars on Tuesday, killing 71, injuring 122 and leaving “others missing,” according to the defence ministry.
The attack in Inates in the western Tillaberi region was the deadliest on Niger’s military since Islamist militant violence began to spill over from neighbouring Mali in 2015.
“The Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) claimed credit for the deadly raid on the Inates military base in Niger,” SITE, which monitors jihadist media, said in a statement Thursday. It added that ISWAP claimed it had killed “over a hundred soldiers”.
Three Nigerien soldiers and 14 militants were also killed on Monday in an attack on another army post in Agando in the western Tahoua region, the defence ministry said.
Heavily armed “terrorists” in a dozen 4×4 vehicles led the attack early Monday morning on the military post in Tahoua, the ministry statement said.
The Inates attack was carried out by “heavily armed terrorists estimated to number many hundreds”, the defence ministry said Wednesday, adding that “a substantial number of terrorists were neutralised”.
The fighting lasted three hours, combining shelling and artillery fire with “the use of kamikaze vehicles by the enemy”.
“Clashes took place with light, medium, and heavy weapons, which led to killing at least 100 elements and wounding dozens, and burning barracks inside the base,” the ISWAP statement claimed, according to a translation by SITE.
The meeting will now take place early next year.
Niger is part of a five-nation anti-jihadist task force known as the G5, set up in 2014 with Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Chad.