Death Toll in Niger Army Base Attack Rises to 89: Government

The government of Niger declared three days of mourning after 89 soldiers were killed in an attack by suspected terrorists on a base located in the countrys west, a spokesman said.

Nigerian President Mahamadou Issoufou also announced he has replaced the head of the countrys army, Ahmed Mohamed, who led the military for two years, Reuters reported on Monday. Major General Salifou Modi was appointed Mohameds successor on the same day.

The government initially said that 25 people died in the attack. Days later, the government said the death toll was revised to 89, The Associated Press reported.

“The government calls on the population to be more vigilant, more serene and united, and reaffirms its determination to continue the fight against terrorism until the final victory,” a government statement said.

According to CNN, three days of mourning were announced by a government spokesman. Days before, Issoufou wrote that “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.” He also wrote to “salute the courage and bravery” of the military forces who lost their lives and repelled the attack in Chinagodrar.

Troops in Niger and Mali are fighting to suppress an insurgency. Both countries have been assaulted by Islamic extremists in recent months, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

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French soldiers loading a French Reaper drone with two GBU 12 missiles on Niamey airbase, Niger on Dec. 17. (French Defense Ministry communication center/AP)

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the special representative and head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, told the bodys Security Council last week that attacks in the region have increased at a rapid pace in recent years.

He said more than 4,000 deaths were reported last year. But in 2016, only 770 deaths were recorded in the same area, which encompasses Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, Fox News reported.

“Most significantly, the geographic focus of terrorist attacks has shifted eastwards from Mali to Burkina Faso and is increasingly threatening West African coastal states,” Chambas said at the U.N. Security Council meeting.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to meet with President Issoufou and other West African leaders in the coming days, Fox News reported.

The latest attack comes about a month after around Read More – Source

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