Benin Army Kills 8 Jihadists In North: Military Sources

Benin Army Kills 8 Jihadists In North: Military Sources

Benin’s soldiers killed eight suspected jihadists in the north of the country, military sources told AFP Thursday.

The clash happened in a region where the country faces a growing threat from Islamist insurgencies across its border.

Two military sources told AFP that the army had “neutralised” eight “terrorists” in the commune of Karimama, in the north-east of Benin, on the border with Niger, on Tuesday.

“We carried out an operation in the Karimama area which resulted in a heavy loss for unidentified armed individuals suspected of terrorist activity in the northern part of our country,” said one source.

Benin’s army suffered no casualties, the source added.

Another senior military official said the incident had happened during a troop offensive that had begun 72 hours earlier.

According to an internal army memo seen by AFP, the army recovered significant amounts of military material and captured motorbikes and fuel.

“I know that there were manoeuvres by armed men in our locality,” a local resident of Karimama told AFP when reached by telephone.

Militants connected to Islamic State and Al-Qaeda have been thriving in the Sahel region, pushing their conflicts further south to coastal West African states.

The border region with Burkina Faso, in the north, remains the epicentre of incursions into Benin.

The border with Niger has also recently become a concern, particularly since the overthrow of Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum by the military in July 2023.

In January 2022, Benin deployed some 3,000 soldiers to help secure its borders as part of an operation called “Mirador”.

A few months ago, Benin began recruiting 5,000 additional soldiers to strengthen security in the north.

Beninese authorities, who very rarely communicate publicly about any attacks in the north, reported in April 2023 about 20 cross-border incursions since 2021.

The European Union has announced it would release 47 million euros for the purchase of materials and equipment to support Benin in its fight against terrorism.

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