Terrorists kill 10 Niger soldiers

According to the defense ministry, at least ten soldiers were killed in an ambush by a group of "armed terrorists" in southwestern Niger, near the Mali border. 

According to a ministry statement, the death toll from Friday's attack could rise because 16 people are still missing and 13 soldiers were injured. 

The troops were patrolling in the north of Banibangou department when they "came under a complex ambush by a group of armed terrorists," according to the report, referring to jihadist groups.

The statement also stated that several attackers were killed during the battle, but it did not specify how many. 

The attack occurred in Niger's vast western region of Tillaberi, which straddles Burkina Faso and Mali — two countries plagued by jihadist insurgency — and has been targeted repeatedly by armed groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State since 2017. 

The Tahoua area is nearby, where heavily armed attackers stormed a camp housing refugees from neighboring Mali last week. 

Nine people were killed in the attack, which was carried out by "heavily armed terrorists" on motorcycles who fled back into Mali, according to a local official. 

According to the UN, Tahoua and Tillaberi are home to over 61,000 Malian refugees. 

Following the withdrawal of French troops from Mali last year and the impending withdrawal from Burkina Faso, France will field only 3,000 troops in the restive Sahel region — in Niger and Chad — where jihadist groups operate. 

All of the countries involved were previously French colonies.

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