At least 38 militants from the Boko Haram Takfiri terrorist group have been killed in joint military operations by troops from Niger and Chad in southeast Niger over the past week, officials say.
Niger's Defense Ministry Spokesperson Moustapha Ledru announced the news on the country’s national television on Friday, adding that the counter-terror operations were launched on September 12 in the vicinity of the villages of Gueskerou and Toumour in Niger’s southeastern region of Diffa, near Lake Chad and the Nigerian border.
He further said two soldiers from the bilateral force sustained light wounds in the operations, adding that the joint forces also managed to seize large quantities of weapons and ammunition from fleeing terrorists.
Ledru went on to say that the militants were killed during the first three days of the week.
The terrorists, however, launched a counter-attack on Gueskerou, some 30 kilometers away from Diffa, late on Wednesday. No casualties were reported.
“The attack nonetheless caused a psychosis in the population” and “the assailants torched houses and stole food and medicines after pillaging shops and a pharmacy,” an unnamed NGO official told AFP.
Niger has been one of the countries affected by more than seven years of Boko Haram militancy in Nigeria. The Takfiri terrorist group has routinely launched attacks across the border from Nigeria into Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Those countries have in return stepped up carrying out counter-offensives in the form of unilateral operations or contributing to a multi-national force against the militant group.
More than 20,000 people have been killed and some 2.6 million more displaced in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries since Boko Haram started its campaign in Nigeria in 2008 with the aim of toppling the central government. The group has pledged allegiance to Daesh, another Takfiri terrorist group mainly operating in Iraq and Syria.
Many blame corrupt officials in the Nigerian government and army for the continued militancy, as recent reports say Boko Haram is purportedly receiving some of its arms and ammunition from corrupt Nigerian officials.