Troops kill 200 Boko Haram men, retake Nigerian town
DAMASAK: A military offensive
by troops from Chad and Niger has retaken the northeastern Nigerian town of
Damasak and left some 200 Islamists dead, a Chadian security source said on
Boko Haram had held the
town near the Niger border since November. Ten Chadian soldiers were killed and
20 wounded in the offensive that began on Sunday, the source said. A Niger
official in Diffa, located across the border from Damasak, confirmed the town
had been retaken after heavy fighting.
The offensive, which
followed a sustained build-up of troops in southern Niger, opened up a new
front in regional efforts to wipe out the Islamist group, whose six-year
insurgency has spread across borders.
It came after Boko
Haram leader Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in
an audio message at the weekend.
More than 13,000 people
have been killed and some 1.5 million made homeless in the Boko Haram conflict
since 2009 and the regional coalition is a reflection of regional fears about
security following cross-border attacks.