Unidentified men attacked the village of Dagne in a remote part of southwestern Niger near the border with Mali, the government said.
Unidentified gunmen killed 11 soldiers defending a village in a remote part of southwestern Niger where fighters from armed groups operate, the defense ministry said.
The heavily armed attackers approached in a convoy of cars and motorcycles on Thursday afternoon, colliding with soldiers stationed outside the village of Dagne near the Mali border, the ministry said in a statement Friday.
The attack by “a column of heavily armed terrorists in several vehicles and dozens of motorcycles” killed 11 soldiers, leaving one wounded and nine missing, according to a statement from the Defense Ministry read on public television.
“After fierce fighting, the enemy column was forced to retreat with its dead and wounded,” the statement added, which stated that “air and ground reinforcements sent to the area continue to sweep” the locality.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack. This year a local affiliate of ISIS (ISIS) killed hundreds of civilians in a series of attacks in the same area, despite the government’s efforts to regain control.
The soldiers attacked in the latest raid had been deployed to ensure the safety of the thousands of villagers who had returned to their communities after previous killings.
It arrived two days later 69 people were killed in another area near the border with Mali about 160 km (100 miles) away.
The assault took place on Tuesday in Adab-Dab, a village about 55 km (32 miles) from Bani Bangou in the western Tillaberi region, but was only confirmed by the government on Thursday.
The government has declared two days of national mourning since Friday.
In recent years, armed groups have intensified attacks in an arid and poor area of West Africa that includes the borderlands of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.
Some al-Qaeda and ISIL ties have tried to take control of communities and drive out local and international military forces. Thousands of civilians have died and millions have fled.