23 soldiers were killed in a “terrorist” ambush in western Niger during an offensive near the border with Burkina Faso and Mali, the defence ministry said.

The soldiers were engaged in a security sweep in Tillaberi, in the three borders area, on Tuesday and Wednesday and were killed during a “complex ambush”, it said late Thursday, adding that “about 30 terrorists had been neutralised”.

The army raids were “designed to reassure local people” who were being targeted by armed groups engaged in “murders, extortion and cattle rustling”, the ministry said.

It said more than 100 “terrorists” had attacked an army unit between Teguey and Bankilare using “home-made bombs and suicide vehicles”.

In addition to the 23 soldiers who died, a further 17 were wounded.



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