NIAMEY: Boko Haram militants killed 38 people in an attack in southeast Niger which occurred overnight Wednesday, with most of the victims women and children, the country's interior minister said.
"Members of the Boko Haram terrorist group have attacked the villages of Lamana and Ngoumao... The initial death toll is 38 civilians, among them 14 men, 14 women and 10 children," minister Hassoumi Massaoudou told public radio on Thursday.
The villages attacked by the jihadists are located in the Gueskerou area of Diffa province near Nigeria, parts of whose northeast are under Boko Haram control.
The latest attack is the deadliest in Niger by the jihadist group since a raid in April on an island in the West African country's side of Lake Chad killed 74 people, 46 of them soldiers.
Massaoudou said three people had been wounded, and hospitalised in Diffa's provincial capital. He said Boko Haram had also set fire to more than 100 homes in its latest raid.
Niger's security forces were seeking to "capture and neutralise" the attackers, he said.
"Air and ground operations are currently underway," he added, saying the government was "doing all it can" to stop Boko Haram from carrying out more attacks.
A double suicide attack blamed on the jihadists caused carnage in Chad's capital N'Djamena on Monday, killing 33 people and wounding more than 100 others. --AFP