Rebel attack kills 6 national guards in Niger's west region

Audacy - The Associated Press

NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — Six members of Niger's national guard have been killed and several others were injured and are missing after an armed attack on a convoy in the country's western Tillaberi region, the government said Thursday.

Rebels armed with rifles and rocket launchers and riding motorcycles intercepted the convoy about 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the town of Bankilare, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement.

The convoy was transporting the prefect of Bankilare and his bodyguard, who were not injured in the attack, the statement said. Niger's armed forces are searching for the attackers. Two military vehicles were also destroyed in the attack, said the statement.

Several major extremist attacks have taken place in the West African country's Tillaberi region, where the government has proclaimed a state of emergency.

Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum traveled a few weeks ago to the areas most affected by the violence, to pledge support to the populations and discuss the best means to counter the insecurity.

Jihadi groups linked to the Islamic State and al-Qaida are active in that part of Niger near the borders with Mali and Burkina Faso.