GLOBAL ECONOMY

Suspected extremists kill at least 5 gendarmes in Niger

Niger's defense ministry says at least five gendarmes have been killed in an attack near the country's western border with Mali.

The ministry says the attack by armed suspected extremists early Monday in Wanzarbe in the Bankilare department also left one gendarme wounded. The ministry says on television that forces are in the zone to combat any suspected extremists still there. No further details have been released.

Two weeks ago Islamic extremists killed at least 15 soldiers along that border in the Tillaberi region.

The attacks follow a February agreement among the presidents of five countries in Africa's vast Sahel region to set up a joint counterterrorism force.

Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Chad have been targeted by numerous extremist groups, including Boko Haram and others linked to al-Qaida.