Nigeria-based Boko Haram extremists launched an attack on the town of Bosso across the border in Niger early Friday, the Associated Press reported. Forces loyal to Niger were able to repel the offensive and push the Islamist militants out of the town, the AP said. Casualty figures were not immediately available.
Niger’s military is coordinating with allied forces to carry out sweeps of the surrounding area in search of remaining resistance. “Niger and Chadian planes are conducting surveillance at the moment in town, and troops on the ground are combing through the streets,” Abba Hassan, a pharmacist in Bosso, told the AP.
The assault came shortly after Boko Haram launched a similar attack in Cameroon this week. The extremist group massacred almost 100 civilians and wounded hundreds more in a attack on the Cameroonian border town of Fotokol. The militants slit the throats of some villagers, forced others to serve as human shields, torched the town’s primary mosque and stole food, according to reports.
Boko Haram reportedly carried out the attack on Fotokol after suffering a massive defeat in the Nigerian town of Gamboru, located across the Cameroonian border. Backed by airstrikes and armored vehicles, Chadian troops killed more than 200 of the militant group’s fighters. The survivors fled to Cameroon to take revenge on Fotokol. Chad’s soldiers raced across the border to repel the attack on Fotokol.
African Union leaders announced support last week for the formation of a 7,500-soldier task force designed to combat Boko Haram’s effort to carve out a caliphate in Nigeria. Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Niger each agreed to provide military aid as members of the alliance. France has also provided operational support for actions against the militant group, although President Francois Hollande has yet to say whether the nation will directly intervene.