Five officers killed by armed group in Niger

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At least five officers were killed in a weekend attack by an armed group in Niger’s western Tillaberi region, a local politician said on Sunday.

The region, which is close to Mali, has been rocked by recurrent extremist attacks.

“On Saturday, an attack targeted a patrol of gendarmes in the town of Sanam, killing five of them,” a local Tillaberi politician told AFP.

“The assailants arrived on a motorbikes and targeted the patrol near the village of Abare on its market day.”

A security and government source confirmed the attack without being able to provide the death toll.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Extremists, including those from ISIS, have a presence in southwestern Niger near the border with Mali - where they have carried out bombings, shootings and kidnappings.

More than 250 civilians were killed and nearly 240 others were kidnapped between January and August this year, mainly in Niger’s regions of Diffa, Tillaberi and Tahoua in the west, according to a UN report in September.

Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou has repeatedly called on the West and the United Nations to help the country battle the extremists.

But the presence of French, American, and German forces in Niger as well as the UN in neighboring Mali has not stopped the increasing attacks.

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