Militants have killed 17 Nigerien troopers in an ambush close to the border with Mali, Niger authorities spokesman has informed the BBC.
Eleven troopers are lacking after the assault close to the western village of Tongo Tongo, Abdourahaman Zakariyyah mentioned.
Militant killed 4 US troopers on the identical place in 2017.
Niger and different nations within the Sahel have been dealing with a rising militant menace from a number of Islamist teams.
Militants belonging to al-Qaeda within the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) – an affiliate of al-Qaeda – are energetic within the area and are recognized to conduct cross-border raids.
They’re most energetic in neighbouring Mali, the place French troops intervened in 2013 to stop them from advancing on the capital.
Mr Zakariyyah mentioned the troopers have been in pursuit of militants who attacked a excessive safety jail 50km (30 miles) on Tuesday outdoors the capital, Niamey.
“One of many troopers’ automobiles drove right into a landmine after which the assailants began firing at our troopers,” Mr Zakariyyah informed the BBC’s Deal with Africa programme.
He didn’t establish the perpetrators of the assault however mentioned it occurred close to the place US troops and 5 Niger troopers have been killed two years in the past.
Six injured troopers have been evacuated to a hospital within the capital, as a search operation, aided by French and American troops, who’ve a base in Niger, proceed, Mr Zakariyyah mentioned.
Niger is a part of a 5 nation anti-insurgency pressure working within the Sahel. It contains Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania.
The G5 Sahel, as it’s known as, is backed by a 3,000-strong French pressure.