July 16, 2015 / 8:09 PM / in 2 years

Boko Haram militants kill a dozen villagers in Niger: sources

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Suspected Nigerian Boko Haram insurgents killed at least a dozen villagers and wounded several others in an attack in southeastern Niger on Wednesday night, security sources said.

The attack on Gamgara, near the town of Bosso some 1,500 km (930 miles) east of the capital Niamey, follows a spate of attacks by the resurgent Islamist group whose six-year-old insurgency has killed thousands in the Lake Chad region.

The assailants left their vehicles in the outskirts of the village and came on foot. They killed at least a dozen civilians before leaving, one security source told Reuters.

Boko Haram insurgents who are fighting to carve out an Islamist emirate in northeast Nigeria have stepped up attacks including raids and suicide bombings in Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria in recent weeks.

The countries have formed an multinational force to tackle the group which now calls itself the Islamic State’s “West Africa Province” since pledging allegiance in March to the hardline militant group which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq.

However, delays in getting the force operational and the withdrawal by Niger and Chadian troops from certain areas they had previously seized has allowed the militants to recapture some towns.

Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalaki; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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