Niger -Local officials informed AFP that jihadists attacked a police checkpoint in Niger’s dangerous border zone with Burkina Faso overnight, killing three police officers and wounded seven others, according to local sources. For the past year, militants have been terrorizing the Tillaberi region, which encompasses a large territory spanning 100,000 square kilometers (38,000 square miles) along the borders of Mali and Burkina Faso.
The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, as well as the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims, routinely target the area as a flashpoint for their attacks. “There was an attack on a border checkpoint at Petelkole,” a member of the Tillaberi municipality’s council reported. .“Two policemen were killed and seven others were injured.” Another official who later visited the scene confirmed that the body of a third police officer had been discovered.
Petelkole is a western border station that is only 10 kilometers from Burkina Faso, which is also experiencing a surge of jihadist strikes at the time of writing. According to the first official, the attackers set fire to two vehicles and took firearms with them. On Saturday afternoon, armed men on motorcycles attempted to attack the post, but were forced to flee after the police repelled their attack, according to a municipal worker. In May 2017, three people were killed at the same police station: two officers and a civilian.
It was announced on Friday that Niger, a vast landlocked country that borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Algeria and Libya to the north, as well as Chad to the east, would build its first military school in the capital Niamey to train future officers. Given its location in the heart of an area prone to terrorist activity, President Mohamed Bazoum stated that his country, particularly as a neighbor of troubled Libya, had to take action to ensure its own security.
While now in Burkina Faso, Bazoum is working to coordinate the military counter-jihadist operations by the militaries of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali against jihadists operating in the region. In a meeting with his Burkinabe colleague Roch Marc Christian Kabore, Bazoum stated, “We must work together to overcome the issues we face, particularly terrorism.” He stated that the “terrorist incident” in Petelkole demonstrated “the importance of coordinated action” and “the necessity of sub-regional cooperation” in combating the threat.