Jihadists attacked a police post overnight in Niger’s troubled frontier zone with Burkina Faso killing three policemen and wounding seven others, local officials told AFP on Monday.
Since 2017, jihadist groups have rocked the Tillaberi region, a vast area covering 100,000 square kilometers (38,000 square miles) near the borders of Mali and Burkina Faso.
The flashpoint area is frequently targeted by the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims.
“There was an attack on a border checkpoint at Petelkole,” an elected official from Tillaberi said.
“Two policemen died and seven were injured.”
Another official who visited the site later said the body of a third policeman had been found.
Petelkole is a western border post located merely 10 kilometers from Burkina Faso, which is also facing a wave of jihadist attacks.
The first official said the attackers burnt two vehicles and took away weapons.
According to a municipal worker armed men on motorbikes had tried to attack the post on Saturday afternoon but fled after the police fought back.
In May 2017, two policemen and a civilian were killed at the same post.
Niger, a vast landlocked state also bordering Nigeria and Benin to the south, Algeria, and Libya to the north, and Chad to the east, on Friday opened its first military school in the capital Niamey to train future officers.
President Mohamed Bazoum said his country, notably as a neighbor of troubled Libya, had to act on security needs given its position at the heart of a region prone to terrorist activity.
Bazoum is currently in Burkina Faso trying to coordinate the military fightback against jihadists in the region by the armies of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali.