Six Niger soldiers have been killed in an attack in the southwest of the country, near the Burkina Faso border, the defense ministry announced Saturday.

The attack, which took place Thursday, was the second in 10 days, marking a return to violence in the region after weeks of relative calm.

“A Nigerien Armed Forces escort mission was ambushed by a group of armed terrorists in the vicinity of the village of Kolmane,” the ministry said in a statement giving the first information of Thursday’s attack.

The defense ministry gave the toll as “six soldiers killed, one injured and a vehicle destroyed,” with the casualties on the attackers’ side “not determined.”

The Tillaberi region, where Thursday’s attack took place, is a vast area on the borders of Burkina Faso and Mali, which has been the scene of bloody attacks by jihadi movements linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group since 2017.

Last week suspected jihadis attacked a bus and a truck in the southwest, killing 21 people.

Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, in a new approach, has initiated dialogue with jihadi leaders in an attempt to keep the peace.

But the military response continues, with some 12,000 soldiers fighting in a dozen anti-jihadi operations, nearly half of them along the more than 1,400 kilometers of borders with Mali and Burkina Faso.

 

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