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Niger loses 17 soldiers in ambush near Mali border

FILE - A soldier patrols on an army truck in Niamey, Niger

FILE - A soldier patrols on an army truck in Niamey, Niger

A government spokesman in Niger says at least 17 Nigerien soldiers were killed and another 11 are missing after an ambush by unknown attackers Tuesday.

The attack took place near the village of Tongo Tongo in western Niger. It is in the Tillaberi region where attackers killed four U.S. special forces troops and four Nigerien soldiers in 2017.

A security source told the French news agency that Tuesday's ambush is believed to be a terrorist attack. A group affiliated with Islamic State took credit for the 2017 attack.

The area where Nigeria, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso come together is the scene of frequent militant activity. The Boko Haram group and a splinter group from Islamic State are headquartered in Nigeria and conduct cross-border attacks.

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