Boko Haram terrorists have clashed with government forces in Diffa, the most crowded city in the southwest of Niger, in what the jihadists called a successful attack on a military camp.
Since 2009, Boko Haram’s insurgency has caused over 36,000 casualties in Nigeria and displaced nearly two million people.
The outcome of the jihadists attack is still uncertain. Boko Haram claims to have overrun the military site but local residents told the AFP that the assailants were repelled the government security forces.
A video released by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a Boko Haram splinter group affiliated to ISIS, showed insurgents storming an army camp following sustained siege and heavy weapons fire.
Diffa, a city with around 200,000 inhabitants, is located in proximity with the border with Nigeria. The city has been reportedly repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram.
Local residents said they that they heard heavy weapons gunfire, between 4:30 pm and 7:00 pm on the southern side of the city.
Another resident said the attackers “came over from the Nigerian side in late afternoon, when the Ramadan fast was about to break — they were obviously hoping to catch our soldiers unawares.”
The conflict has disrupted the country’s development, especially public finances, and destabilised the south east, the main scene of armed clashes.
The battle against Boko Haram has stoked up local inter-communal tensions and exacerbated violence over access to resources. Nigerian forces are not equipped to contrast insurgents attacks, some of whom have links to ISIS.