Insurgency: Niger Fingers Turkey as 14 Soldiers Were Ambushed
*Nigerian Army Chief Tasks Troops
Niger on Christmas day arrested two Turkish citizens and a local collaborator as they arrived Niamey from Istanbul for trying to provide logistical support and weapons to the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.
While details are still sketchy,Turkey was accused of using the Turkish built (Build& operate) international Airport in Niger and Turkish Airline flights to smuggle in weapons to the Salafi Jihadi groups in the region.
Turkey has not reacted to the development.
Few hours after the arrest of Tutkish operatives,Niger military convoy was ambushed today with 14 soldiers reportedly killed.
Acco5ding to agency reports,fourteen troops were killed when “heavily-armed terrorists” ambushed a convoy in the western Niger region of Tillaberi, the interior ministry said Thursday.
“After a fierce battle… seven police and seven national guards were killed” Wednesday, it said in a statement.
“A guard has been listed as missing,” the ministry said, adding, “the enemy suffered many losses.” It did not give details.
The security forces had been escorting a team to carry out voter registration in the district of Sanam ahead of presidential and legislative elections due in late 2020, it added.
The team was “secured and returned to Sanam safe and sound,” the statement said.
Niger, a poor, landlocked country in the heart of the Sahel, is on the front line of a jihadist insurgency.
Its troops are fighting Boko Haram militants on the southeast border with Nigeria and jihadists allied with the Islamic State group in the west near Mali.
On December 10, 71 soldiers were killed in Tillaberiwhen hundreds of jihadists attacked a military camp with shelling and mortars.
It was the worst single toll since jihadist violence spread from Mali in 2015.
Niger is part of a five-nation anti-jihadist task force known as the G5, set up in 2014 with Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Chad.
Burkina Faso on Thursday was observing its second day of mourning after a wave of jihadist attacks in the north of the country left 42 dead, also its worst one-day casualties since 2015.
Army Chief Tasks Troops
Meanwhile ,the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai has tasked troops to
end Boko Haram war for peace to reign in Northeast.
Buratai gave the task in his Christmas and New Year goodwill messages to troops, in a statement of Army Spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa on Thursday in Maiduguri.
His words: “Your professionalism and responsiveness to the ongoing counter-insurgency operations could end this war to restore peace in insurgency affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.”
He applauded the roles they played in the counter-insurgency and terrorism operations in region and other parts of country.
He also reassured troops of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitments
and passion for their welfare and family members.
“I send this goodwill message to officers, soldiers and indeed the entire Nigerian Army family on the occasions of this year’s Christmas and New year celebrations,” said Buratai in Christmas message.
Continued: “I want to urge you all to maintain the momentum and remain
steadfast as we sustain professionalism and responsiveness in the discharge of our constitutional roles.
“I thank you all for the good job you have done in 2019 and look forward to us making greater progress in 2020.”