Boko Haram Suicide Bomber Hits Niger Market After Army Repels First Attack

February 8, 2015 8:33 pm
Residents said fighting was heard between around 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. (0600 to 10000 GMT) on the outskirts of the town.“There was fighting between security forces and elements of Boko
Haram who tried to enter the town,” said a military source. “Fighting is
taking place around the bridge at Doutchi. There are many dead.”

Niger’s army repelled an attack by Nigerian Islamist group on
the border town of Diffa on Sunday but a suicide bomber struck in the
town’s market, killing at least one person and injuring several more,
residents said.
Boko Haram fighters have waged twin attacks in Niger, their latest
front in an expanding regional insurgency, claiming at least one life,
reportedly that of a child.
The Islamist militants launched
Sunday’s first assault on the edge of the southeastern town of Diffa
before dawn, just two days after their first major offensive in Niger,
witnesses said.
A
few hours later a suicide bomber reportedly blew herself up in the
centre of the town, killing a child and wounding 20 people, a health
official said by telephone.
“The child was working near a food
vendor,” the source said, requesting anonymity, adding that the injured
were receiving treatment.

An official at Diffa town hall said the blast appeared to be
the work of a female suicide attacker who blew herself up at the local
market, while other sources referred to a bomb or mortar shell.
There
was no immediate toll from the pre-dawn fighting on Sunday between the
-based Islamist rebels and the Niger troops, possibly alongside
Chadian forces, who have taken a lead role in battling Boko Haram.
Chadian soldiers fought alongside Niger’s troops against the first cross-border attack by Boko Haram in Niger on Friday.
The
Islamist fighters had been massed for months on the Nigerian side of
the Komadougou Yobe river forming a small part of the border between the
two countries.
Niger announced last week that it would ask its
parliament on Monday to approve sending troops to Nigeria to fight the
militants alongside Chadian and Cameroon soldiers.
The incursions
into Niger mark an expansion of the violence attributed to Boko Haram,
which has waged a six-year insurgency centred in northeastern Nigeria,
where the Islamists have seized swathes of territory.
It was the second attack by Boko Haram in three days on the border
region of Niger, where some 2,500 Chadian troops have gathered ahead of a
planned military offensive by a coalition of regional powers against
the Islamist group.
Niger’s parliament is due to vote on Monday on a
proposal by the government to send its troops into Nigeria to help fight
Boko Haram.

Residents said fighting was heard between around 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. (0600 to 10000 GMT) on the outskirts of the town.“There was fighting between security forces and elements of Boko
Haram who tried to enter the town,” said a military source. “Fighting is
taking place around the bridge at Doutchi. There are many dead.”

Local residents said a suicide bomber then struck Diffa’s market.“It was a young boy who was carrying the explosives in a plastic cover,” said one resident who gave his name as Aboubakar. “I saw 10 people injured and at least one dead.”

Chadian forces already crossed into Nigeria last week to the south of
Lake Chad to attack Boko Haram in the town of Gambaru, bordering
Cameroon.

On Saturday, the governments of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin agreed to establish an 8,700 strong regional force.

Chad has deployed some 2,500 soldiers to neighbouring Cameroon and Niger as part of this effort.

Boko Haram has seized territory in northeastern Nigeria as part of a
five-year insurgency to carve out an Islamist state on the territory of
Africa’s top oil producer and biggest economy. Around 10,000 people were
killed last year.

Nigeria’s electoral commission on Saturday postponed a presidential
election that had been scheduled for next weekend until March 28 due to
security concerns over Boko Haram’s insurgency.

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