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Over 100 Boko Haram fighters killed in group's first Niger attack

Niger's government says it killed over 100 of the Islamic militants after they assaulted a town on the border with Nigeria.

By
Fred Lambert

BOSSO, Niger, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The government of Niger claims it killed over 100 fighters from Islamic militant group Boko Haram when the fighters attacked within the borders of the country for the first time.

Witnesses and government sources told the BBC the fighters descended on Bosso, a town on the Niger-Nigeria border, before government forces repelled the assault.

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Niger is one of five countries -- including Cameroon, Chad, Benin and Nigeria -- that agreed to form a multinational force against Boko Haram, but the assault on Bosso would mark the first time the group has attacked a town in Niger.

The 54-nation African Union agreed late last month to send a 7,500-strong international military force to combat Boko Haram, which has since 2009 waged war in pursuit of an Islamic state in Nigeria. The group has been blamed for a series of grisly mass murders and kidnappings, as well as large-scale attacks against military bases and towns.

Nigeria postponed national elections Saturday, citing security concerns involving Boko Haram.

More recently the group has made attacks into countries neighboring Nigeria, such as Chad and Cameroon. On Wednesday Boko Haram fighters reportedly killed 70 people in a town in Cameroon near the Nigerian border, while Chad's military said it killed 200 militants from the group in the town of Gamboru, close to the same area. Chad's losses were nine killed and 21 wounded.

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