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Six killed in suspected Boko Haram violence in southern Niger

An alleged raid by Boko Haram militants has killed six and wounded seven people in southern Niger. The Nigeria-based fighters have been increasingly active in the country as they seek to expand their influence.

At least six civilians died and another seven were injured in an attack reportedly carried out by Boko Haram jihadists in Niger, the army said on Friday. The Nigeria-based terrorists have been known to launch cross-border raids in their attempt to create a state based on Islamist Sharia law.

The attack occurred on Thursday evening near the southeastern town of Bosso, close to the Nigerian frontier, authorities confirmed. Boko Haram fighters struck the village of Yebi after dark, setting fires at the market and at ten private homes. They arrived on foot and horseback and made off with vehicles after the carnage.

"Search operations are ongoing in the area to neutralise these terrorists," said an army statement broadcast on state TV and radio.

The Defense Ministry added that the victims had either been shot or burned alive before the area was evacuated.

Niger has been plagued by repeated Boko Haram attacks since the organization began attacks there in February 2015. The country's southern region of Diffa, which had become a haven for refugees fleeing the group in other areas, has now found itself the target.

The news came on the heels of a military announcement proclaiming that 97 women and girls had been released by the Islamists as well as news from neighboring Nigeria that

one of the 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in the town of Chibok

two years ago had escaped and been rescued.

es/jm (AFP, Reuters)

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