Chad, Niger forces kill 123 militants in crackdown

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FILE PHOTO - Nigerian soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag that they had seized in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria, March 18, 2015. REUTERS/Emmanuel Braun/File Photo

Lake Chad—A joint military operation between Chad and Niger has killed 123 Boko Haram militants since July and recovered a significant quantity of weapons, Niger’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
Allied Chadian-Nigerien forces launched an offensive against the extremists after a surprise attack in Niger killed 30 of the country’s troops in early June, its deadliest ever attack there.
Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Moustapha Ledru said 14 of the two nations’ own troops had also died and 39 had been wounded in fighting with the Nigerian militant group over the same period.
“An important quantity of arms and weapons were recovered,” he added. Boko Haram is waging a guerrilla war to establish a breakaway caliphate around the Lake Chad region, where Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad meet. Ledru said a parallel offensive involving Nigerian forces had recaptured four towns from the extremists, whose insurgency has killed thousands and displaced 2.4 million. The UN humanitarian coordinator for the region said on Friday that tens of thousands of people are dying of hunger because insecurity has prevented farmers tilling the land and made access for aid agencies almost impossible.—Agencies

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