The Nigerien army said last week it killed “about 20 terrorists” of the jihadist group Boko Haram and captured 83 other suspected fighters during an operation on the border with Nigeria.
This “air-land sweep” operation aimed to “neutralize” the bases of the Islamic State in West Africa group (ISWAP, a splinter faction of Boko Haram) installed in the Matari forest in Nigeria from where attacks against towns and military positions in Niger are planned, according to the military operations bulletin in the Diffa region (south-east of Niger), consulted on Wednesday by AFP.
It also aims to “maintain pressure on ISWAP” and “cut its supply lines”, the text describes.
According to a report drawn up by the army, some 20 “terrorists have been neutralized” and “83 suspected Boko Haram terrorists” captured and handed over to the Nigerian authorities.
In addition, three “enemy” bases, logistical depots, and motorcycles were destroyed and weapons were seized.
The operation was conducted from March 13 to 19 by the Nigerien military of the Mixed Multinational Force (MMF) an 8,500-strong force launched in July 2015 by Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon, to fight armed jihadist groups.
Meanwhile, the Nigerien military claims to have intercepted and handed over to Nigerien authorities a total of 1,121 suspected Boko Haram members, including women and children.
These people live in the Sambissa forest in northeastern Nigeria and travel to the Nigerian islands of Lake Chad to flee fighting with their rivals in the Islamic State in West Africa (Iswap).
On March 11, it had also killed “some 30 terrorists” who refused to surrender.
According to the Nigerien army, clashes between ISWAP and Boko Haram over “several months” have forced families to leave Sambissa and take refuge on the islands of Lake Chad in Niger.
The basin of this lake, which stretches its shores between Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad, is a vast expanse of water and swamps where the jihadist groups Boko Haram and Iswap have set up lairs in the countless islands.
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