Two Benin soldiers were killed Thursday when their vehicle hit a makeshift bomb in the country’s north, near the border with Burkina Faso, military sources told AFP.
Benin, which borders three countries battling a jihadist insurgency that has spread across the Sahel region, has reinforced its military in the north after the nation’s first two officially recognized jihadist attacks last month.
On Thursday, a military vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device in Atakora department.
“One soldier died on the spot, a second died in hospital and a third is in critical condition,” a senior military official told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that there were other injuries.
Another officer confirmed the death toll, saying “it was not an attack, but a military vehicle which ran over an improvised mine while going to carry out an operation.”
A resident of Tanguieta, near where the incident occurred, told AFP that “an army vehicle exploded on a mine not far from Pendjari Park.”
The deaths came eight days after President Patrice Talon told parliament that Benin would strengthen its military to stop incursions by jihadists from neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.