Niger says it killed 33 Boko Haram 'terrorists'

In this file picture, a soldier inspects a damaged armoured carrier during a visit by Niger's Interior minister of the military camp in Bosso, Niger where Boko Haram had attacked a military post, killing 26 soldiers.
In this file picture, a soldier inspects a damaged armoured carrier during a visit by Niger's Interior minister of the military camp in Bosso, Niger where Boko Haram had attacked a military post, killing 26 soldiers.
Image: ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

Niger said Wednesday it had killed 33 Boko Haram "terrorists" and seized vehicles and weapons in an operation in the Lake Chad region in the country's southeast.

"Offensive actions carried out on Tuesday inflicted heavy losses on the enemy," a defence ministry statement read on state television said.

"Thirty-three terrorists (were) killed" while there were no losses on the army's side, it said.

An "armoured vehicle" was destroyed, while two other vehicles, two motorcycles, a 120-millimetre mortar, 10 AK-47 assault rifles, two 60mm shells and 3,736 rounds of all calibres were seized, it said.

The operation began on Saturday, it said - a day after seven police and 38 jihadists were killed near Gueskerou in the southeastern region of Diffa, according to a government toll.

Diffa borders the birthplace of Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria and has suffered a string of cross-border raids and population displacement.

An estimated 27,000 people have been killed and two million others displaced since Boko Haram launched its insurgency in 2009.

Lake Chad, which straddles parts of Niger, Nigeria and Chad, has borne the brunt of the jihadists' hit-and-run attacks.

In November, around a dozen girls were taken in raids on several border villages, while seven local employees of a French drilling firm and a government official were killed after suspected Boko Haram gunmen stormed their compound.

On February 16, seven Nigerien soldiers were killed in an attack on the border village of Chetima Wangou.

A year-end government offensive, combining land and air forces, killed more than 280 militants, Niger's armed forces maintained on January 3.

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