At least 160 suspected militants belonging to the Islamist Boko Haram group were arrested at Niger's border with Nigeria on Monday, police said.
"We would like to warmly thank the residents of the Diffa region whose assistance has allowed us to arrest more than 160 suspects," Niger's police spokesman Adily Toro said on local television. The suspects were being interrogated and faced charges of terrorism and conspiracy in connection with a terrorist group, Toro added.
Earlier this month, terrorists launched an attack on Niger's remote Diffa area, across the border from Boko Haram's stronghold in Nigeria. Police arrested dozens of suspects in the Nigerian city of Zinder, west of Diffa, where more than 10,000 people were on the run to escape the recent violence.
Earlier on Monday, Cameroon lost five of its soldiers in clashes which left around 86 jihadists dead. The skirmishes took place in Waza, at Cameroon's border with Nigeria, news agency AFP reported.
More than 1,000 terror suspects were also being held for questioning by Cameroon's army, which recently formed a military alliance with Nigeria, Chad and Niger to drive out Boko Haram militants.
The terror group, which denounces everything Western as un-Islamic, has killed and kidnapped thousands in its efforts to create a caliphate. Its members have recently stepped up attacks against Nigeria's neighbors.
mg/cmk (AFP, Reuters)