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Militants kill three policemen, one military commander in Niger

Two separate militant attacks have claimed the lives of at least three policemen and a military commander in Niger.

Niger’s Interior Minister Hassimi Massaoudou said on Friday that gunmen had shot dead three policemen in a market in the Dolbel area near the border with Burkina Faso a day earlier.

The minister added that the al-Qaeda’s North African affiliate is believed to have been behind the fatal shootings.

In recent months, similar al-Qaeda terror attacks have left dozens of people dead in Ivory Coast, Mali and Burkina Faso, leaving West African nations scrambling to boost security in the face of terrorism.

Separately, a local Nigerien military commander was killed and two other injured after four bombers attacked a military convoy near the country’s restive border with Nigeria. A fifth bomber was prevented from detonating her explosives.

Massaoudou said the Nigeria-based Takfiri Boko Haram terrorist group carried out the second attack.

This comes as Niger’s southeastern Diffa region, located on the border with Nigeria, has witnessed several attacks in recent months. The militants infiltrate into Niger after crossing the Komadugu Yobe river which separates the country from Nigeria.

Nigerien soldiers patrol in Diffa, a southeastern Niger town, on May 25, 2015. (©AFP)

Niger’s army has been battling Boko Haram militants in the volatile region since February last year.

The country has joined a regional military alliance alongside Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria against Boko Haram elements, whose violence has spilled over into several African nations.

In January 2016, Niger’s army chief said that the landlocked West African country is close to winning the war against Boko Haram.

The Boko Haram militancy began in 2009, when the terrorist group started an armed rebellion against the government. At least 17,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million displaced since then.

The terrorists have pledged allegiance to the Takfiri Daesh militant group, which is primarily operating inside Syria and Iraq.

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