Eighty-nine soldiers have died in a jihadist attack on a military camp in western Niger, according to a new toll announced by the government on Sunday.
The previous toll given for the attack which occurred on Thursday was 25 soldiers killed but government spokesman, Zakaria Abdourahame, said on public radio on Sunday that “after a thorough search, the toll has been established as 89 dead among friendly forces, and 77 dead for the enemy,”
Three days of national mourning have been declared to honour the dead.
Heavily armed assailants in vehicles including motorbikes had stormed the Chinegodar camp which is near the volatile frontier with Mali.
The attack happened in the same region Tillaberi, also bordering Burkina Faso, where 71 Niger soldiers were killed in a December attack, claimed by the Islamic State group, that saw hundreds of jihadists storm a camp near the border with Mali with artillery.
Reports say the latest attack is the deadliest on Niger’s military since Islamist extremist violence began to spill over from neighbouring Mali in 2015.
Militant violence has spread across the vast Sahel region, especially in Burkina Faso and Niger, having started when armed Islamists revolted in northern Mali in 2012.