Thirty-eight Boko Haram militants have been killed during search operations carried out by soldiers from Niger and Chad in the Diffa region of southeast Niger this week, an official said Friday.
Two soldiers from the bilateral force were lightly wounded in the action and “on the enemy side; 38 terrorists killed,” Niger defense ministry spokesman Moustapha Ledru said on state television.
The Nigerien and Chadian forces also seized large quantities of weapons and ammunition, according to the army statement read by Ledru.
The joint operations took place between Monday and Wednesday around the villages of Gueskerou and Toumour in southeastern Niger, he added.
According to villagers and NGO workers in Gueskerou, 30 kilometers from Diffa, Boko Haram elements attacked the town on Wednesday night, without killing anyone.
“The attack nonetheless caused a psychosis in the population” and “the assailants torched houses and stole food and medicines after pillaging shops and a pharmacy,” an NGO official told Agence France Presse.
Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency has left at least 20,000 people dead in Nigeria and border areas of neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, and displaced more than 2.6 million people.
Attacks in Niger’s Diffa region began in February 2015.
In late July this year a multinational force, drawn from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, was formed to tackle the insurgents and clear them out of towns and villages.
Ledru’s statement said soldiers were continuing to pursue Boko Haram militants in the Diffa area.