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Boko Haram attack leave 12 villages dead in southern Niger

NIGER: A Boko Haram attack in southern Niger has left a dozen villagers deadr on the frontier with Nigeria, according to a local official.

The attack occurred on Friday night in the border district of Gueskerou. It is the latest to hit the Diffa region near Lake Chad, which is crisscrossed by fighter groups and traffickers.

A local official said that twelve villagers were killed on Friday at around 8:00pm (19:00 GMT) by Boko Haram elements.

He said 11 of those killed had been shot but did not give further details.

The Gueskerou area, abutting the Komadougou Yobe river that provides a natural frontier between Niger and Nigeria, has been exposed to years of killings and kidnappings at the hands of the Boko Haram.

In March, two attacks in the area left eight civilians and seven police dead.

Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates to “Western education is forbidden”, has waged an armed campaign in northeast Nigeria since 2009.

The group wants to establish an Islamic state which will follow a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Some 30,000 people have been killed and more than two million displaced since Boko Haram launched its armed campaign. The fighting has since spilled over to neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

The group has repeatedly attacked schools, churches, mosques and markets, but state institutions such as police stations and military facilities have remained its primary targets.

Boko Haram allegedly operates its largest camp in the vast Sambisa forest in Nigeria’s northeast.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari promised to crush Boko Haram during his first term election campaign in 2015.