In a recent development in southeastern Niger, a clash between security forces and jihadist fighters has resulted in 10 soldiers wounded and a significant number of militants killed, according to official government reports.
The incident unfolded when fighters associated with the Boko Haram group targeted a special intervention battalion stationed at N’Guigmi’s airport, a garrison town in the Diffa region near the Nigerian border. The engagement commenced at approximately 01:50 am (0050 GMT). It lasted around 20 minutes before the attackers were repelled towards the banks of Lake Chad, as detailed in a statement released by Niger’s defense ministry on Tuesday.
Security forces successfully located the retreating militants using air support as they embarked on pirogue canoes on Lake Chad. The statement highlighted that several “terrorists” were effectively “neutralized” through precision air strikes.
Lake Chad, an extensive body of water and marshland, spans the borders of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad. It has been a recurrent target for jihadist groups, including Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
This clash represents the most significant reported encounter between the military and jihadists in the region following a period of relative calm over the past few months. The Diffa region has been a focal point for jihadist attacks since 2015, with a notable incident in June where seven soldiers lost their lives due to a vehicle hitting a landmine.
The region is also grappling with humanitarian challenges, hosting thousands of internally displaced people and Nigerian refugees. According to regional authorities, these vulnerable populations depend on humanitarian organizations and local support, facing additional strains from food shortages caused by drought-affected harvests.
Niger, currently under military leadership since a July 26 coup, contends with significant economic challenges as one of the world’s poorest nations. In addition to the recent clash in the southeastern region, the country is grappling with a deadly jihadist insurgency in its western territories, near the borders with Mali and Burkina Faso.