3 days of mourning after 89 soldiers killed in attack on Niger military base

3 days of mourning after 89 soldiers killed in attack on Niger military base
Source: Al Jazeera

The West African nation of Niger has declared three days of national mourning after 89 soldiers were killed in an attack on a military base. The attack took place on Thursday, January 9 when heavily armed militants attacked an army outpost in Chinagodrar near the border of Mali. Niger’s flag will also be flown at half-staff across the country to pay tribute to the troops killed in the raid.

President Mahamadou Issoufou expressed his deepest condolences to the victims’ families and wished those wounded in the attack a speedy recovery.

“I would like to salute the courage and bravery with which our SDFs, supported by our allies, repelled the attack on #Chinagoder. On behalf of the people of Niger, I offer my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wish the injured a speedy recovery,” Issoufou tweeted in French.

Number of casualties in recent attacks

The number of troops killed in Thursday’s attack is higher than the casualty figures from December’s attacks by jihadist militants on another military outpost in the country’s west, which killed 71 soldiers.

Military troops in Niger and neighboring Mali are fighting to suppress the growing number of attacks by terrorist groups, Boko Haram and Islamic State-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

In November 2019, 13 French soldiers were killed in a crash when the two helicopters they were traveling in collided during an operation against jihadist fighters in Mali.

More than 50 soldiers died in one of the deadliest militant attacks on a military camp in the northeast of Mali on November 3. An investigation into the incident is underway as the country wages war on terrorism amid the spike in terror attacks, said Mali officials. The government says its security forces killed 77 terrorists as they repelled the attackers who came on motorcycles and in several vehicles to the outpost near the Mali border.

Army officials fired

President Issoufou has dismissed the Niger Armed Forces’ chief of staff following the most recent deadly attack. Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ahmed Mohamed will be replaced by Brig-Gen. Salifou Modi, formerly Niger’s military attaché to Germany, according to a presidential statement on January 13.

President Issoufou also dismissed the secretary-general of the Defense Ministry as well as the chief of Land Staff.

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