Meeting of Sahel leaders with president Emmanuel Macron postponed as a result of 71 dead soldiers in Niger

Niger’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday that 71 troops were ambushed and killed by armed militants in a Nigerian camp near the border with Mali. The over 3 hour assault which took place late Tuesday was carried

out by heavily armed terrorist estimated about a hundred of them as the report from the ministry claims adding that over 57 of the attackers were killed with 12 military personnel injured and others missing.

This attack which the office of President Mahamadou Issoufou called a “tragedy” made him to cut short a trip to Egypt in a bid to chair a meeting of the national security council as well as a meeting between him and

French President Emmanuel Macron as well as 5 other presidents from the Sahel region, a meeting which is said to have been rescheduled for next year which was aimed at address security in the volatile region.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the raid — the deadliest attack on the West African country’s military in recent memory.

Local sources quoted by news agencies said the militants arrived at the camp in the western town of Inates on motorbikes and trucks and began firing mortars.

Jihadis with links to the “Islamic State” and al Qaeda have stepped up attacks on army outposts in West Africa’s Sahel region this year, despite the deployment of a regional military force and thousands of French

troops. Mali and Burkina Faso have borne the brunt of the violence, but the militants have also spilled over the border into Niger.The Defense Ministry said reinforcements had been deployed to the area and the

situation on Wednesday was “under control.”

By John Paul Sama