The Niger Defense Ministry has said thirty soldiers from Niger and two from Nigeria have been killed in a Boko Haram attack by “hundreds of assailants” on Friday on the southeastern town of Bosso close to the border with Nigeria.
Seven others from Niger and eight from Nigeria were injured in the attack that targeted a military post, according to the ministry, which reported “several deaths” among the assailants.
“The counter-offensive conducted early this morning helped to retake control of all the positions in the city of Bosso. The situation is under control,” the defense ministry said in a statement. “A sweep is ongoing in the area with the mobilization of all land and air means”.
In a statement released later, Boko Haram claimed killing 35 soldiers and wounding nearly 70 from the Nigerien and Nigerian armies, according to the US-based jihadist monitoring service SITE. Boko Haram also said it seized a “large quantity of weapons and ammunition” during the attack.
Around 200 people took the streets on Saturday in the capital Niamey to voice support for the population in Diffa and to ask for an audit of military spending as they denounced a “lack of results” from army action.
“The terrorist threat remains a concern to our subregion,” said Senegal’s president Macky Sall, the incumbent chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).
“We must face it by combining all our resources in a comprehensive long-term perspective,” he told an Ecowas summit in Dakar on Saturday.
“We must at the same time remove any confusion in terminology: there is no Islamic state in West Africa matching the terrorist aims of Boko Haram. Boko Haram remains Boko Haram and Islam has nothing to do with terrorism and its killing spree”.