Worst Islamist Raid in Niger This Year Sends 50,000 Fleeing

Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou flew to Chad for talks on Tuesday following a raid by Boko Haram insurgents that forced 50,000 people to flee and left 26 soldiers dead, marking the most violent clash on its territory with the Islamist group this year.

Issoufou told reporters after his meeting with Chadian President Idriss Deby that the two nations will reinforce their military cooperation to combat Boko Haram. Deby said in the same briefing that the group is changing tactics and planting landmines in the region.

The government of Niger met in an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Monday to declare three days of public mourning after the assault last week on the southeastern town of Bosso, near Lake Chad. The town was secured by Chadian troops until February this year as militant attacks appeared to subside. The death toll comprises 24 Nigerien troops, 2 soldiers from Nigeria, and 55 insurgents, according to a government statement.

An estimated 50,000 people have fled the area in a region that already has hundreds of thousands of displaced as well as refugees from Nigeria, according to the United Nations. Niger has maintained a state of emergency in the Diffa region since last year.

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