Eight Gendarmes Killed in Niger Attack

Armed fighters killed eight gendarmes and injured 33 in a “terrorist” attack near Niger’s border with Burkina Faso, the Nigerien government said on Tuesday.

A defense ministry statement said “armed terrorists” riding motorcycles and other vehicles attacked the gendarmes in Waraou in southwestern Niger at around 05:30 am (0430 GMT) on Tuesday while they were carrying out a security mission in nearby villages.

Around 50 “terrorists” had been killed, the ministry said, while six of the wounded gendarmes were in a serious condition.

The statement said the gendarmes’ swift reaction and support from national and international ground and air forces “routed the enemy.”

The Nigerien army lost five cars and a lorry in the attack, the ministry added, with search operations in the area ongoing.

Waraou is located in the restive Tillaberi region, which is part of the so-called “three borders” zone including neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso that has become a center of jihadist attacks including groups affiliated with the Islamic State group.

Waraou was the scene of another incident in February 2021, when seven members of Niger’s national electoral commission died after their vehicle struck a mine.

Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum has tried to change the government’s approach in recent months by initiating dialogue with the jihadists.

But the military campaign against them continues as 12,000 Nigerien soldiers are involved in anti-jihadist missions.

Much of the military activity has been concentrated along Niger’s long borders with Mali and Burkina Faso.

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