15 Girls Kidnapped Overnight By Suspected Boko Haram Gunmen

On Saturday, in a village near Toumour, southeastern Niger, 15 girls were kidnapped overnight by suspected Boko Haram gunmen.

The mayor of the town in Niger’s Diffa region near the border with Nigeria, Boukar Mani Orthe, said, in a village about nine kilometres from the town centre, about 50 unidentified armed men seized the girls.

In Toumour, suspected Boko Haram fighters, on Thursday, killed eight people working at French drilling company Foraco’s water well site.

Boko Haram has been waging an insurrection since 2009 aimed at establishing an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria. It has launched repeated attacks into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

The violence has forced millions to flee their homes in the large Lake Chad basin region and killed thousands of civilians.

Since its fighters in 2014 kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, in Nigeria, kidnapping of schoolgirls has been a Boko Haram horror mark.

Another major kidnap of schoolgirls in Dapchi, Yobe state also staged this year.

French forces in Mali said they “put out of action” some 30 Islamist militants, possibly including veteran Malian jihadist leader Amadou Koufa, during a raid in the central Mali region of Mopti.

The French army, which has about 4,500 troops in West Africa battling Islamist militants, did not specify whether the jihadists had all been killed or taken prisoner. The operation took place with air support on Thursday night, it said.

“At this stage of the evaluation of the operation, it appears that about 30 terrorists were put out of action,” the army said in its statement on Friday, adding that Koufa and other prominent militants were probably among them.

Koufa, a radical preacher, inspired the Massina Liberation Front (MLF), a group blamed for a wave of attacks that has shifted Mali’s six-year-old Islamist insurgency from the remote desert north ever closer to its populous south.

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