NIAMEY, Niger – A total of 109 Boko Haram fighters were killed by soldiers responding to attacks on two towns in Niger near the border with Nigeria on Friday, Niger's defense minister said.
In a statement read out on state television late Friday, Mahamadou Karijo said four soldiers were killed and 17 wounded in fighting in the towns of Bosso and Diffa. He said two soldiers were missing and a civilian was also killed.
"Calm has returned to the two localities and the situation is under control," Karijo said.
Chadian troops supported Niger's soldiers in Bosso, and Boko Haram suffered "heavy casualties" in Diffa, he said. It was not possible to verify the figures he provided.
Boko Haram has openly threatened to attack other countries taking part in the military effort against their insurgency, which is blamed for 10,000 deaths over the past year. Niger has joined Cameroon, Chad and Benin in pledging to send troops to fight the extremists, who have waged a five-year rebellion against the Nigerian government.
Niger is already home to tens of thousands of refugees who have fled the terror group's attacks in Nigeria.
In Cameroon, regional leaders were expected to conclude a meeting on Saturday to finalize plans for a coordinated military response. Last week, leaders of the African Union authorized a 7,500-strong force to fight Boko Haram.