Niger confirms 11 security personnel killed in attack

AGADEZ, NIGER - OCTOBER 8: Armed soldiers of the Niger National Guard protect a convoy crossing the Sahara Desert from Niger north to Libya, often with Nigerien workers on overloaded trucks destined for work in mines, on October 8, 2018 in Agadez, Niger. Aside from civilian convoys, National Guard patrols hunt armed Islamists in this Sahel region half the size of Texas. In a bid to stem irregular migration from Africa to Europe, the EU is spending $270 million on an "Emergency Trust Fund" for programs in Niger, part of a security-development package that has seen the number of migrants heading north drop from 334,000 in 2016 to fewer than 50,000 in 2018. (Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images)
Armed soldiers of the Niger National Guard protect a convoy crossing the Sahara Desert in Agadez, Niger. /Getty Images

Eleven Nigerien security personnel died in an ambush against a regional prefect’s motorcade near the country’s border with Burkina Faso on Wednesday, the interior ministry said on Friday.

The ministry’s toll was higher than the deaths reported by local officials.

The attack by suspected jihadists on the convoy transporting the Bankilare district prefect was the first against government officials in Tillaberi.

It is part of the “tri-border” zone between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, known for high levels of attacks by jihadists linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group (IS), especially against civilians.

The ministry said in a statement that 10 National Guard personnel and one gendarme “fell on the field of honour”, adding that three more people had been wounded.

Two National Guard vehicles were burnt and another damaged by the unidentified assailants, who used rifles and rocket launchers, the ministry said.

“An investigation is underway to find and bring to justice the perpetrators of this criminal attack,” the statement added.

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