Niger's defense minister says 109 Boko Haram fighters were killed by soldiers responding to attacks on two towns near the border with Nigeria.

In a statement late Friday, Karidjo Mahamadou 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.

Niger's army received support from Chad as it worked to repel Boko Haram's assault on the West African nation, which is already home to tens of thousands of refugees who have fled the terror group's attacks in Nigeria.

Neighboring countries are fighting back with ground troops and aircraft. Boko Haram has threatened to attack countries participating in the military effort.