Saturday, February 7, 2015 5:39 am
*United States intelligence estimates Boko Haram fighters to between 4000 and 6,000
An army general in Niger was among the 13 soldiers wounded as Boko Haram militants attempted to overrun two towns in the country on Friday.
Niger’s forces killed 109 fighters from the Boko Haram on Friday as they repulsed attacks on Bosso and Diffa, two southeastern towns near the Nigerian border, Niger state television said.
Four Niger soldiers were killed, 13 were wounded and two are missing after the fighting in Bosso against Boko Haram, whose five-year insurgency is spreading from Nigeria to neighbouring states.
Four Niger soldiers were wounded in Diffa.
“At around 9 a.m. elements of the Boko Haram terrorist group launched two simultaneous attacks at Bosso and Diffa. At Bosso, Niger’s defence forces helped by Chadian troops neutralised the assailants,” said the statement by Defence Minister Karidio Mahamadou on state television.
Chad deployed war planes to repulse the attack, military officials in Niger said earlier.There was no independent confirmation of the numbers killed.
General Yaya Doud, commander of Chadian forces deployed north of Lake Chad, was shot in the stomach in Bosso, a Chadian security source said. He has been evacuated to hospital in N’Djamena for treatment.
“Theko Haram attack from Malam Fatori (in Nigeria) against the town of Bosso and the bridgDoutchi in the Diffa region has been repulsed. We have Chadian planes bombarding the locality,” said a Niger military source.
Meanwhile US intelligence officials have estimated that Boko HARAM, has about 4,000-6,000 “hardcore” fighters.
.In an assessment of the group, whose five-year uprising including massacres and kidnappings has spread from Nigeria into neighboring states, the officials said they did not believe it posed major threat to Nigeria’s oilfields.The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the militants were believed to be still holding 300 schoolgirls they kidnapped last year and had dispersed them to multiple locations.