Official: Nigerian military plane aiding northern Mali operation crashes in Niger; 2 dead

An airport official in the capital of Niger says a military plane from Nigeria has crashed, killing the two people aboard.

Chaibou Massalatchi, the head of Niamey's airport, said the plane had taken off Monday to do a reconnaissance mission.

The Nigerian military is taking part in the regional effort to support France's operation in northern Mali.

Massalatchi says the plane crashed in Dargol in western Niger, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of the capital. Both occupants were killed, he said.

France launched the military operation in January to oust al-Qaida-linked jihadists from power in northern Mali.

Some 6,000 troops from neighboring countries including Nigeria and Niger have been taking part, though Chad has said it's withdrawing its nearly 2,000 soldiers.