Mine Blast Kills Five Soldiers in Niger

An improvised explosive device has killed five Nigerien soldiers in the southwest of the Sahel country, the defense ministry said Thursday.

An army patrol unit on Wednesday hit the device, killing the five soldiers and wounding two others, the ministry said in a statement read out on public radio.

The blast occurred in the Gotheye district of the Tillaberi region, which lies in a flashpoint zone where the frontiers of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali converge.

Western Niger has for years faced jihadist attacks, despite the efforts of international forces deployed to the wider Sahel region to fight the Islamist insurgents.

Niger, the world’s poorest country according to the UN’s Human Development Index, has to contend with two jihadist insurgencies.

It has faced groups such as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) in the west, as well as Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the southeast, near the border with Nigeria.

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