Niger's defense ministry says 17 soldiers have been killed and 11 are missing after an ambush by jihadists.

The attack took place on Tuesday not far from the volatile border with Mali where Islamic extremists are known to operate.

A ministry statement says the soldiers came under attack by heavily armed assailants with explosives.

The attack took place about 45 kilometers (27 miles) from where an ambush in October 2017 killed four American soldiers and four soldiers from Niger. Their convoy was attacked by more than 100 extremists while searching for a high-level Islamic State group leader.