AFRICANGLOBE – Around 230 people were killed, including at least 74 from Niger, at the weekend in the country’s bloodiest battle yet with Boko Haram from neighbouring Nigeria, the government said on Tuesday.
Niger soldiers were initially overwhelmed when hundreds of the armed attacked the Lake Chad island of Karamga at dawn on Saturday aboard motorised canoes.
The island, attacked once before by Boko Haram in February, is prized by both sides as a strategic base among a vast maze of waterways and swampland. The army says it has since wrested it back from the guerrillas.
“On the side of our forces: 46 dead, 9 injured, 32 missing. On the enemy’s side, 156 terrorists were killed. In addition, 28 residents of the island were assassinated by the terrorists,” said interior minister Hassoumi Massoudou on state radio.
Niger forces had initially held back from giving a death toll as they searched for bodies among the mangroves. It declared three days of national mourning beginning on Wednesday.
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