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Niger government spokesman: There were no hostages in Agadez

  • Twisted metal lies at the site of a morning car bomb attack inside a military camp in Agadez, in northern Niger, Thursday, May 23, 2013. Suicide bombers in Niger detonated two car bombs simultaneously on Thursday, one inside a military camp in the city of Agadez and another in the remote town of Arlit at a French-operated uranium mine, killing a total of 26 people and injuring 30, according to officials in Niger and France. Both attacks were claimed by a spinoff of al-Qaida, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, which earlier vowed to avenge the four-month-old French-led military intervention which ousted them from town's in Mali's north.(AP Photo)

    Twisted metal lies at the site of a morning car bomb attack inside a military camp in Agadez, in northern Niger, Thursday, May 23, 2013. Suicide bombers in Niger detonated two car bombs simultaneously on Thursday, one inside a military camp in the city of Agadez and another in the remote town of Arlit at a French-operated uranium mine, killing a total of 26 people and injuring 30, according to officials in Niger and France. Both attacks were claimed by a spinoff of al-Qaida, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, which earlier vowed to avenge the four-month-old French-led military intervention which ousted them from town's in Mali's north.(AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • A soldier wounded in a car bombing attack on a military camp, lies in a hospital in Agadez, in northern Niger, Thursday, May 23, 2013. Suicide bombers in Niger detonated two car bombs simultaneously on Thursday, one inside a military camp in the city of Agadez and another in the remote town of Arlit at a French-operated uranium mine, killing a total of 26 people and injuring 30, according to officials in Niger and France. Both attacks were claimed by a spinoff of al-Qaida, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, which earlier vowed to avenge the four-month-old French-led military intervention which ousted them from town's in Mali's north.(AP Photo)

    A soldier wounded in a car bombing attack on a military camp, lies in a hospital in Agadez, in northern Niger, Thursday, May 23, 2013. Suicide bombers in Niger detonated two car bombs simultaneously on Thursday, one inside a military camp in the city of Agadez and another in the remote town of Arlit at a French-operated uranium mine, killing a total of 26 people and injuring 30, according to officials in Niger and France. Both attacks were claimed by a spinoff of al-Qaida, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, which earlier vowed to avenge the four-month-old French-led military intervention which ousted them from town's in Mali's north.(AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Niger's government spokesman told The Associated Press that the jihadists who attacked a military installation in the town of Agadez on Thursday had never taken any hostages, unlike their earlier statements.

Spokesman Morou Amadou said the government had mistakenly thought the suicide bombers had kidnapped their soldiers because the attackers who survived the initial explosion ran away and holed themselves up inside a dormitory on the base.

Amadou said the two jihadists were killed in the ensuing standoff. "They were shooting at us from the dormitory so we thought they were holding hostages," he said.

He also confirmed in a telephone interview Friday that French forces had helped Niger during the standoff, flying into Agadez after the Thursday morning suicide attack on the military base, which killed 20 soldiers.