Two Niger police officers killed in attack on police station near capital Niamey

Two police officers were killed late on Tuesday, June 18 when gunmen attacked a police station north of the Niger capital Niamey, a security official said.

“The police post on the Ouallam route a few kilometers from Niamey was hit by a surprise attack by two armed individuals,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

“The toll from the attack: Two policemen killed and two wounded.”

According to AFP, the police station is near the northern entrance to the city, but the Menastream Risk Consultancy placed the incident in Koné Béri, around 25 km (16 miles) north of Niamey city center, on the main road from Ouallam.

“The toll is two dead and four wounded, two of them serious,” the security source said on Wednesday.

ActuNiger reported only one officer injured.

“We heard gunfire coming from the station at 11 p.m.,” a witness told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Police investigators were on the scene on Wednesday morning, an AFP reporter saw.

Security is tight in Niamey, with high-profile deployment of the military and police and checkpoints on the highways into town.

The city is due to host a summit of the African Union on July 7 and 8.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Niger, the French Embassy and EUCAP Sahel jointly conducted a training exercise that simulated an attack on a convoy, truck and residential site, the embassy said.

On June 3, Niger’s defense ministry said said five people including “two known terrorists” were arrested near Niamey’s international airport two days earlier.

Niger faces insurgency on two fronts: the southeastern Diffa region near Lake Chad is increasingly frequently hit by Nigeria-based insurgents, while Mali-based militants, some linked to al-Qaeda, are active in the west of the country and the wider Sahel region. Attacks carried out by Islamic State-affiliated militants in the Sahel have previously been attributed to Islamic State in the Greater Sahara but ISIS has begun to attribute attacks in western Niger to its Wilayah of West Africa.

On June 8, a U.S. military vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device as it entered a firing range near Ouallam for a joint training exercise.

Niger hosts an estimated 800 U.S. troops, the largest American deployment in Africa.

In October 2017, four American and five Nigerien soldiers were killed when their convoy was ambushed at Tongo Tongo, an attack later claimed by ISGS.

On May 13, Niger authorities said they had foiled a “terrorist attack” at the high-security Koutoukale prison, around 40 km northwest of Niamey. One soldier injured in the attack later died. The following day, 28 soldiers were killed when a military patrol was ambushed near Tongo Tongo.

Islamic State puts the Sahel in West Africa – for now

With reporting from AFP

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