Militants kill 71 soldiers in Niger

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Militants have killed at least 71 soldiers in an attack on a military base in western Niger – the deadliest in several years.

Twelve soldiers were injured in the attack in Ates, the army says.

The Islamic State (IS) group said it carried out the attack.

Analysts say the insurgency waged in the Sahel by militants linked to IS and al-Qaeda is escalating at an alarming rate despite the presence of thousands of regional and foreign troops.

Defence Minister Issoufou Katambe told the BBC “a large number of terrorists” had been “neutralised” during the attack, which happened on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Katambe said there had been “a fierce battle” with “several hundred” militants in In Ates, not far from the border with Mali.

Local media also reported another attack on an army camp in Tahoua on Monday.

Titi