The Republic of Niger has, on Tuesday, begun three days of national mourning after a suspected jihadist attack claimed the lives of 29 soldiers were killed in a suspected jihadist attack.
This attack, which is the deadliest that the nation has faced since the military rule took over civilian government in July 2023, occurred as the country’s coup leaders stated they were considering Algeria’s offer to facilitate negotiations for a transition back to civilian control.
The long-running violence in neighbouring Nigeria has spilled over into Niger, and militants from Mali and Burkina Faso are launching an attack in the west. Together, these two jihadist insurgencies are posing a threat to the country.
The country’s deteriorating security situation was used as a pretext by military officials to overthrow democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.
In a televised statement, the Ministry of Defence said that Monday’s attack in western Niger involved “improvised explosive devices and kamikaze vehicles by more than a hundred terrorists,” also adding that two soldiers were seriously wounded and “several dozen terrorists” were also killed.
The incident occurred northwest of Tabatol, close to the Mali border, a country that frequently experiences clashes with militants connected to both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State organization.
Since 2021, military coups have been taking place in Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso because of violence in the “three borders” region between the countries.
Algeria, Niger’s influential neighbour, said on Monday that Niamey has accepted its offer to mediate talks on a transition to civilian rule.
Several hours later, the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that it had “indicated the availability of the Nigerien authorities to examine Algeria’s offer of mediation”.