10 dead as rival drug runners clash in Niger



Clashes between rival drug runners left at least 10 dead last week in northern Niger near the borders with Libya and Algeria, a local government official said Monday.
The lawless desert region has been a hotbed of trafficking in drugs, weapons and humans for nearly a decade since the 2011 toppling and killing of Libya’s longtime leader Moamer Kadhafi. Jihadist groups also operate in the area.
The fighting in the so-called Salvador Pass took place last Thursday and Friday, the Agadez region official told AFP.
“One of the groups fell into an ambush set up by its rival who has been trying for some time to control the lucrative flow (of drugs) towards Libya and other destinations,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In February 2019, two Nigerien army officers were killed in an ambush by heavily-armed men aboard several vehicles running drugs.
The US Africa Command operates a specialised drone base in Agadez that serves as a major surveillance platform in the Sahel.—APP