A source from the Niger government has said the allied armies of Niger and Chad have launched a “ground and air” offensive against the Boko Haram.
“An offensive is under way against Boko Haram,” the source told AFP news agency. “Very early (on Sunday) morning, the troops from Niger and Chad began an offensive against Boko Haram… in the area of Bosso and near to Diram.”
A resident of Diffa, located in Niger near the Nigerian border, told AFP he saw troops headed toward the frontier early Sunday followed by the sounds of heavy arms fire.
“After some time, the detonations grew further away, an apparent sign that the troops were moving inside Nigeria,” he said.
Privately owned radio station Anfani, based in Diffa, reported more than 200 vehicles, including those equipped with machine guns as well as tanks, ambulances, water tankers and transport trucks, in a convoy moving toward the Nigerian border.
It also reported that aircraft had targeted Boko Haram positions on Saturday and early Sunday.
An aid worker told AFP heavy arms fire was coming from the direction of the Doutchi bridge connecting Niger to Nigeria on Sunday morning.
The offensive comes after the African Union on Friday endorsed the creation of a regional force of up to 10,000 men to join the fight against the group which on Saturday pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).