At Least 6 Killed, 10 Wounded in Twin Attacks in Niger

NIAMEY, NIGER — At least six people have been killed in attacks by suspected jihadis in Niger near its border with Burkina Faso, authorities said Friday.

"The provisional toll is … six dead, including a policeman, two customs officers and three civilians" during the attacks overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Ten others were wounded when heavily armed gunmen simultaneously attacked a border post and a bridge near the border town of Makalondi, it said.

Local sources had told AFP earlier that the attack had caused deaths and casualties, but exact numbers were not known.

The Makalondi border post, where customs officers, gendarmes and police officers are stationed, lies in a zone frequently targeted by jihadis.

Makalondi is the last major town in Niger before the Burkina Faso border, about 100 kilometers (65 miles) southwest of the capital, Niamey.

It lies in the Tillaberi region, which is in the so-called tri-border area, a flashpoint zone where the frontiers of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali converge.

Niger, the world's poorest country according to the U.N. Human Development Index, is contending with two jihadis insurgencies.

As well as the attacks in the west from groups such as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, it is also dealing with Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province in the southeast, near the border with Nigeria.

On Wednesday, the regional authorities in Tillaberi announced that a number of gas stations would be closed in several counties in a bid to disrupt fuel supplies for the jihadists, who typically move around by motorcycle or four-wheel-drive vehicles.

The authorities have closed markets and refugee camps and declared a ban on movement by motorbike in sensitive areas.

Source: Voice of America