BOSSO, Niger, June 4 (UPI) — A reported 32 soldiers — 30 from Niger and two from Nigeria — have been killed in clashes with Boko Haram militants on Niger’s southeastern border.
The country’s defense ministry announced the soldiers were killed and 67 others were injured after militants attacked them in the town of Bosso Friday, according to Sky News.
According to the defense ministry, “hundreds of assailants,” attacked the military post Friday night followed by retaliation clashes Saturday morning. Although some militants are presumed dead and injured, the ministry did not announce a specific number, BBC reported.
“The counter offensive conducted early this morning helped [the army] to retake control of all the positions in the city of Bosso,” a defense ministry spokesman said. “The situation is under control and calm has returned.”
Meanwhile, Nigerian troops reportedly ambushed a Boko Haram camp near the Sambisa forest, reportedly killing three and arresting a suspected terrorist named Umar Mustapha. One soldier died in the ambush, according to AllAfrica.
“During the encounter at the camp, the troops killed 19 Boko Haram Terrorists including their notorious leader in the area called Ameer Abubakar Gana,” said Col. Sani Usman of the Nigerian Army Public Relations in a statement.
Soldiers recovered a number of artillery including a rocket propel grenade, several AK-47 rifles, two RPG bombs, and a multitude of ammunition. Three improvised explosive devices were also discovered at the edge of a road near the site and were subsequently detonated safely.
Reports say Niger has been a target for Boko Haram since early last year. An estimated 20,000 Nigerians have died as a result of the conflict sparked by Boko Haram’s insurgents in the past seven years.
Boko Haram is mainly based in northeastern Nigeria and launched military operations in 2009 in an effort to forcibly establish a Muslim caliphate. The group is considered highly dangerous and is behind the kidnapping of 219 young schoolgirls in 2014.
An ally of the Islamic State, Boko Haram has largely been beaten back by Nigerian and international forces, who retook most of its captured territory.