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71 soldiers killed in Niger militant attack

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71 soldiers killed in Niger militant attack
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Niamey: At least 71 soldiers were killed when armed militants attacked an amry camp in Niger, the West African country's Defence Minister said.

The attack took place on Tuesday at the camp located near Niger's border with Mali, reports the All Africa news website.

The three-hour assault was carried out by "heavily armed terrorists estimated to number many hundreds," the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

It added that 57 of the attackers had also been killed.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, but fighters linked to the Islamic State (IS) terror group and Nigeria-based Boko Haram are active in the area, the BBC said.

The attack comes just after the Niger government requested a three-month extension to a state of emergency, first declared two years ago.

Niger's security forces were struggling to contain the spread of armed groups.

In recent weeks, there have been increasingly bold attacks from the IS affiliate in the area of the country close to Mali.

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