At least 16 soldiers have been killed, six others wounded and another kidnapped in an attack in northwestern part of Niger, near the Malian border, a source said.
The incident occurred on Saturday in the locality of Tillia, Tahoua region, a security official told Anadolu Agency on the condition of anonymity late Sunday.
Unidentified gunmen riding motorcycles in the area of Ekenewane and Intazey ambushed regional patrol of the Niger National Guard. As a result, two army vehicles were damaged and a third was taken away. A large number of attackers were also killed.
Niger's Tillaberi and Tahoua regions have been facing recurrent armed attacks since 2017, and were hence placed under a state of emergency.
Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali in the Sahel are the epicenters of one of the world's fastest-growing displacement and protection crises. The region hosts 851,000 refugees and nearly two million displaced people, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
In March, at least 137 Nigerien civilians were killed in a series of attacks in the Tahoua region. The attacks came as Niger’s Constitutional Court declared Mohamed Bazoum the winner of a February runoff election for the president. He was sworn in on April 2./aa