A Niger customs official was killed in an attack by insurgents in a southwestern region bordering Burkina Faso and placed under a state of emergency last week, authorities said on Sunday.
Finance Minister Hassoumi Massoudou, speaking as the body of the victim was transferred to a Niamey morgue, decried what he termed a “barbarous, armed attack” on a police post in the southwestern town of Tera.
“Armed men who we suspect of being terrorists… attacked the Tera police post around 21:00 ,” a local councillor told AFP, adding that the town also hosts a customs unit.
The councillor added the assailants “came to try to free one of their comrades” who security forces had detained and who according to private broadcaster Saraounia was injured in Friday’s attack.
The attack came the very day the government had placed three southwestern departments bordering Burkina Faso – including Tera – under a state of emergency after a spate of “terrorist” attacks.
The area across the Burkinabe border has regularly been the scene of attacks by jihadists in recent months and late October saw a large-scale deployment of troops in the zone to try to chase out the insurgents.
Two policemen were killed and another wounded in a mid-November attack by alleged jihadists on a police post at Makalondi close to the Burkinabe border some 100km south west of the capital Niamey.