Niger Republic Soldiers Ambushed in Jihadist Attack; Military Leadership Severs Ties with US

Niger Republic faced a devastating blow as 23 of its soldiers fell victim to a “terrorist” ambush near the borders with Burkina Faso and Mali, amplifying concerns over escalating jihadist violence in the region.

The attack occurred in Tillaberi, a western region known for jihadist activity, where Nigerien soldiers were conducting a security sweep on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the defence ministry. Described as a “complex ambush,” the assault resulted in the death of 23 soldiers and left 17 wounded, with approximately 30 terrorists neutralized in the ensuing confrontation.

The ministry highlighted the army’s efforts to reassure local residents targeted by armed groups involved in heinous crimes such as murders, extortion, and cattle rustling. Despite a significant deployment of anti-jihadist forces in the region since 2017, Tillaberi continues to grapple with jihadist activities linked to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

The recent attack underscores the persistent challenges facing Niger, compounded by political instability following a military coup in July. Despite Niger’s historical collaboration with Western forces in combating jihadists in the Sahel, the junta’s decision to expel French troops and pursue ties with Russia marks a strategic shift in alliances.

In a significant move, the military announced the termination of a 2012 agreement with the United States, effectively severing cooperation and ending Washington’s military presence in Niger. This decision comes amid heightened tensions between the junta and Western powers, raising questions about future security dynamics in the region.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Nigeria, tragedy struck as 16 Nigerian Army operatives were ambushed and killed in Delta State while on a peacekeeping mission to quell community clashes in Bomadi Local Government.

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