•Group launches first attack in Niger
The Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram has attacked a town in Niger for the first time, witnesses say.
Niger’s government, yesterday, said it killed more than 100 of the group’s fighters as it repulsed the attack on the border town of Bosso.
The group reportedly killed at least 70 people in an attack on the town of Fotokol in Cameroon on Wednesday.
The Boko Haram insurgency has left thousands dead and displaced more than a million over the past six years.
The militants control a large stretch of land in north-eastern Nigeria.
Its neighbours have promised to send troops to help it fight the militants, who are now attacking those countries.
US intelligence officials said, at the weekend, that they believed Boko Haram had up to 6,000 “hardcore” fighters, according to Reuters news agency.
Despite this, they did not believe the group posed a major threat to Nigeria’s oilfields.
The unnamed officials told Reuters that the militants were thought to be still holding the 300 schoolgirls that they kidnapped last year and had dispersed them to multiple locations.
Islamists pushed back
Boko Haram militants reportedly attacked Bosso early in the morning with heavy weapons, causing residents to flee or hide indoors.
One resident told AFP news agency: “We can hear the sound of weapons all around the town, often very near our windows.
“There is the noise of heavy weapons and of light arms, making our houses shake.”