Death toll from Niger army base attack rises to 89

Death toll from Niger army base attack rises to 89”

Niger's defense ministry said late Thursday that 63 jihadists had been killed along with the 25 soldiers in the attack some 7 miles from the border with Mali.

Visiting the region last month, the French president complained of a lack of "clear political condemnation of anti-French feelings" on the ground.

The December attack spurred leaders of the G5 Sahel nations to call for closer cooperation and global support in the battle against the Islamist threat.

"The region has experienced a devastating surge in terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets", Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the United Nations secretary-general's representative in West Africa, told the Security Council this week.

It brings together a summit of the so-called G5 countries - Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauritania - with France, the former colonial power in the region, who is leading the fight against the insurgents.

During that time, the insurgency has killed thousands of civilians and displaced more than a million others.

Convening the meeting in the southwestern French city of Pau, President Emmanuel Macron sought support from the leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Chad against an increasing insurgency linked to the Al Qaeda and ISIS/Daesh terror groups.

Some US troops provide logistical support to the French anti-jihadist operation based in Mali.

But he insisted the G5 leaders would demand a "respectable and respectful relationship" with France.

Niger's Issoufou said the summit would "launch an appeal for global solidarity so that the Sahel and France are not alone in this fight".

Analysts note an escalation in the jihadists' operational tactics, which seem to have become bolder and more complex in recent months.

"Last year, military operations in Mali have pushed more than 80,000 people to flee".

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