BAMAKO, Mali – A Niger government spokesman says gunmen have attacked a town in the west near the border with Mali.
Assamana Malam Issa said the attack targeting Banibangou began early Tuesday morning. He said the government is not yet able to provide details on casualties or the identity of the assailants. It was not clear whether the fighting was over.
Landlocked Niger faces threats of extremist violence from al-Qaida-linked Islamic militants in Mali to the west as well as Nigeria's Boko Haram insurgents to the south and jihadists in Libya to the north.
Last month, gunmen killed 22 soldiers guarding a camp in western Niger housing Malian refugees. In a separate incident later in the month, gunmen abducted an American aid worker in Niger and fled with him toward Mali.