‘Terrorist’ attack on Niger high-security Koutoukalé prison foiled

Authorities in Niger on Monday foiled a “terrorist” attack on a high-security prison near the capital Niamey, Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum said.

“Around 10 armed assailants tried to attack the prison at around 1600 GMT but were repelled because the security forces were already aware of an impending raid,” a security source told AFP.

“There are no deaths in our ranks for the moment,” Bazoum tweeted.

The security source said the assailants infiltrated the Koutoukale market to launch their attempt on the prison.

The Koutoukalé prison, around 40 km (25 miles) northwest of Niamey, was previously attacked in October 2016 by assailants aboard motorbikes wielding explosives.

Considered to be Niger’s most secure prison, the facility holds the country’s most dangerous detainees, including jihadists from groups active in the Sahel and militants from Nigeria’s Boko Haram. It also holds prisoners from neighboring Mali.

Niger faces insurgency on two fronts: the southeastern Diffa region near Lake Chad is increasingly frequently hit by Nigeria-based militants, primarily the Islamic State West Africa Province faction of Boko Haram. Mali-based militants, some linked to al-Qaeda, occasionally attack the west of the country and the wider Sahel region.

Niger gendarmes killed and hostages taken in latest Islamic State attack in Diffa

With reporting from AFP

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