NIAMEY, 23 January 2021 – Four soldiers have been killed and eight others seriously injured in Niger’s southeastern region of Diffa near the country’s border with Nigeria.

The soldiers were killed in an explosion at an artisanal mine.

Nigerian soldiers in drills - Photo U.S. Army photo by Spc. Zayid Ballesteros

Nigerian soldiers in drills – Photo U.S. Army photo by Spc. Zayid Ballesteros

A group of soldiers had been on hot pursuit of jihadist militants, according to an account provided belatedly by Niger’s defense ministry of this incident which occurred a wek ago, Sunday.

Niamey has blamed insurgents linked to the Islamic State in West Africa (SWAP) group which has claimed responsibility for the killing of dozens of Nigerien soldiers over the past three years.

On 7 March 2020, eight soldiers were killed in another attack by jihadist militants in Diffa.

A year earlier, another attack had left seven Nigerien soldiers dead.

It is in this same region that four US army special operations soldiers were killed in action during an ambush in October 2017.

Four US Soldiers Killed in Niger Ambush - Photo CNN

Four US Soldiers Killed in Niger Ambush – Photo CNN

An investigation by the Pentagon established that the lightly-armed team were outmatched and outgunned by ISIS fighters who exploited the bad decisions by U.S. commanders.

Fears have grown that the jihadists will step up their campaign of hate and death at the approach of presidential elections due to hold in Niger at the end of February 2021.

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