Africa

Niger soldier wounded in Koutoukalé prison attack dies

A soldier injured in what officials say was a terrorist attack on a high-security prison in Niger has died of his wounds, the authorities announced Tuesday, May 14.

The man was wounded in Monday’s assault on Koutoukale jail, 50 km (30 miles) north of the capital Niamey, said an interior ministry statement.

He was a junior officer in the National Guard, a security source told AFP.

Considered Niger’s most secure prison, Koutoukale holds the country’s most dangerous detainees, including jihadists from groups active in the Sahel area and Islamist militants from Boko Haram.

After the attack, which a security source said had been carried out by around 10 armed men, security forces found an abandoned rocket and ammunition.

They also recovered two vehicles belonging to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) stolen on May 2 in the country’s north.

Monday’s raid failed because the authorities had been tipped off, said the security source, although the attackers opened fire on an advanced post.

The Niger air force intervened, forcing the attackers to flee towards the Mali border, ActuNiger reported.

The prison was also attacked in October 2016 by assailants aboard motorbikes wielding explosives. The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara claimed responsibility.

Niger faces insurgency on two fronts: the southeastern Diffa region near Lake Chad is increasingly frequently hit by Nigeria-based militants, primarily the Islamic State West Africa Province faction of Boko Haram. Mali-based militants, some linked to al-Qaeda, occasionally attack the west of the country and the wider Sahel region.


With reporting from AFP

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