Niger Army Says 15 Jihadists Killed

Niger’s military reported on Friday killing 15 suspected motorbike-riding jihadists in a “riposte” carried out with French troops near the Mali border.

“A land and air riposte with partners led to the neutralisation of 15 terrorists” at the end of last week, the army chief of staff said in a statement.

The same number of motorcycles were destroyed. A dozen Kalashnikov rifles and communications equipment were recovered, it added.

The fighting took place near Anzourou in the Tillaberi region, a Niger official said.

Forces from Niger and France staged 15 “joint operations,” seizing arms and ammunition from insurgents along the African country’s volatile border with Mali from July to October, the army announced last month.

Following the withdrawal of French forces from Mali this summer, the Niger government has feared a security vacuum that could aggravate the situation along their shared 800-kilometer (500-mile) border.

France still fields some 3,000 troops in the Sahel, including 1,700 in Niger.

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