World News

Suspected Boko Haram suicide attack kills two Niger soldiers

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Two Niger soldiers were killed on Wednesday in a suicide attack by a group of suspected Boko Haram militants in the southeastern region of Diffa, Niger’s defence minister said.

Four attackers attempted to enter the town of Diffa on Wednesday morning but were intercepted 10 km (six miles) outside and then attacked by security forces. However, at least one of the militants still managed to detonate an explosive device.

“Two of our soldiers died after being hit by the explosion,” Karidio Mahamadou told reporters. Three others were injured.

The strike comes two weeks after a suicide attack by the Islamist militant group in the same region killed at least 13 people. Niger imposed a 15-day state of emergency in the region on Oct. 14, implementing a curfew and restricting movements.

Nigeria-based Boko Haram has launched a series of cross-border raids on neighbours Niger, Chad and Cameroon, which have all contributed soldiers to an 8,700-strong regional task force fighting the militant group.

In a bid to help Niger, the United States has donated two military aircraft and other equipment to improve surveillance and intelligence gathering, Mahamadou said on Wednesday.

The United States also said this month it would send 300 troops, along with surveillance drones, to Cameroon.

Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalaki; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Gareth Jones