Five soldiers have been killed by a mine in Niger’s southwestern Torodi region, where attacks using improvised explosive device (IEDs) are increasingly frequent.
Three soldiers were wounded in the blast, which occurred on Friday when an army patrol vehicle ran over the IED, the ministry said on Sunday in a statement carried on national television.
The troops were part of the 2,160-strong Niya force set up in February in the southwest, near the border with Burkina Faso.
Security sources say the militants have recruited many young people in Niger, particularly in areas along the border with Burkina, where they have “set up several logistics bases”.
Since 2017, western Niger has been regularly targeted by militant groups, despite the deployment of thousands of troops and the imposition of a state of emergency.
IED attacks on the army have become particularly frequent in Torodi and neighbouring Gotheye.
Both are located in the flashpoint “three borders” zone between Niger, Burkina and Mali, where armed groups including the Daesh terror organisation in the Greater Sahara operate.
President Mohamed Bazoum says 12,000 of the country’s soldiers are involved full-time in anti-terror operations.