Niger’s army has foiled an attack by Boko Haram jihadists in the volatile Lake Chad region, killing three attackers and seizing weapons, a multinational military force said Wednesday.
The remaining attackers fled in four vehicles following Tuesday’s evening foiled raid in the southeastern town of Bosso, said a statement from the Mixed Multinational Force (FMM).
“Three attackers were neutralized (killed) and one vehicle seized,” the force said, adding that a machinegun and three Kalashnikov assault rifles had also been recovered. The FMM is made up of soldiers from Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
A local lawmaker from Bosso confirmed both the attack and the toll.
Rated the poorest country in the world under the UN’s Human Development Index, Niger is battling jihadist insurgencies on its southwestern flank with Mali and on its southeastern border with Nigeria.
The foiled raid came just two days after nearly 6,000 people who fled jihadist violence in 2015 returned home to the troubled Diffa region where Bosso is located.
Diffa is home to 300,000 refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) who have fled attacks by the Nigeria-based Boko Haram and its breakaway faction Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), according to the UN.
On June 3, 2016, a massive Boko Haram attack on Bosso led to the deaths of 26 soldiers and 55 jihadists, according to the Niger government.
Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum, elected in February, campaigned on a promise to return all refugees and displaced people to their homes by the end of 2021.