NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — Extremist group Boko Haram killed seven military police and injured three others in an attack on a barracks in southeast Niger, witnesses said Saturday.
“They arrived around 6 p.m. and went to the police camp,” said Idrissa Maman Sani, a humanitarian worker based in the Diffa region where the attack occurred Friday. “They killed six and a seventh died after reaching the hospital in Diffa.”
The Nigeria-based insurgents claimed responsibility for the deaths of “seven apostates” in the attack, according to a statement distributed by SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online extremist activity.
The militants took “weapons and various ammunition” before fleeing, according to the statement.
Boko Haram’s nearly seven-year-old insurgency has killed some 20,000 people and forced 2 million from their homes.
Last year, the group began regular attacks on neighboring countries including Niger, prompting the creation of a regional force tasked with eliminating the extremists.
More than 20 soldiers were killed earlier this month during clashes with Boko Haram in southeast Niger, and the U.N. refugee agency said last week that more than 50,000 people had been forced to flee as a result of the recent fighting.
Residents of southeast Niger on Saturday said they feared more attacks and asked for regional security forces to protect them.
“We are really waiting for protection from this multinational force,” said Ibrahim Abdou, a teacher in the region.
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