Hundreds of Boko Haram militants attacked a military outpost in southern Niger overnight Tuesday, killing 16 soldiers and wounding nine. The defense ministry said dozens of militants were killed in the ensuing combat.

On Wednesday, Niger’s defense ministry said government forces had sustained substantial losses after their outpost was ambushed by Boko Haram militants during the night.

The ministry announced that 16 soldiers had lost their lives and a further nine were injured. It also said its troops had killed around 50 militants during the engagement, and significant quantities of weapons were taken from the Islamist group.

The incident took place in the country’s south, in the Diffa region which borders Nigeria, whose government has also fought a prolonged war against the militant group. 

Islamist terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province have operated from the volatile region for years, carrying out attacks against civilian and military targets. The Boko Haram insurgency, which started in Nigeria in 2009, frequently spills over into other countries.

An attack allegedly carried out by Boko Haram in December 2020 killed 28 people and 800 homes were burned. UN figures suggest that at least 36,000 have died since the group launched its terrorist campaign, displacing around 2 million people in Nigeria.

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