Nigeria’s Defense Ministry announced Saturday that 6 soldiers were killed in a “terrorist” attack in the west of the country near Burkina Faso, the second in 10 days.
“A Nigerian Armed Forces escort mission was ambushed by a group of terrorist militants on the outskirts of Coleman village, Tira county,” the ministry said in a statement.
He added that “the result is as follows: 6 dead soldiers, one wounded soldier and a destroyed car. On the enemy side (the result) is not specified”, and pointed out that “the attackers retreated towards the so-called triangle border zone”.
Tira province is located in the vast Tillaberi region on the borders of Burkina Faso and Mali, and since 2017 has witnessed bloody attacks by terrorist movements linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS.
On March 16, a double attack on a bus and a truck killed 21 people near the border with Burkina Faso.
The president of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, launched in recent months a dialogue initiative with leaders of extremist groups in an attempt to achieve peace.
But the military response continues, especially along the more than 1,400 km of borders with Mali and Burkina Faso.
The ruling party unites its ranks
In another context, Nigeria’s ruling party, the “All Progressives Conference” held its national conference on Saturday to elect a new leader and overcome internal differences before choosing a candidate for the country’s presidency to succeed current President Muhammadu. Buhari in the year 2023.
The party conference is the last step before primaries later this year to nominate a candidate for president of Africa’s most populous country.
The selection of the next leader of the Congress of All Progressives has sparked great tension in recent weeks between state governors and key party figures, who are trying to reach a consensus on the election.
Violence and accusations of fraud have frequently plagued elections in Africa’s most populous country.
President Muhammadu Buhari, a former army general chosen for his promise to improve security and fight corruption, is leaving office after two widely criticized terms.
“The outcome of the conference will unify or disintegrate the party. We are witnessing discussions and negotiations between the different groups,” said Drabo Thomas, a professor of political science at the University of Lagos.
He continued: “If the party can complete a successful conference without any negative feelings, it will be in a strong position for the next battle.”
Several presidential candidates have been announced, including former Lagos State Governor Paula Tinubu, leader of the All Progressives Congress, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.