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Boko Haram Attacks in Niger, Cameroon

  • VOA News

Niger's army has repelled an attack by Boko Haram militants on a prison in Diffa.

Niger's army has repelled an attack by Boko Haram militants on a prison in Diffa.

Nigeria's Boko Haram militants launched new attacks in Niger and Cameroon on Monday as the group's leader vowed to defeat soldiers fighting the group.

Witnesses say Boko Haram gunmen attacked a prison in the southeastern Niger town of Diffa but were driven back by Niger's army. There was no word on casualties or whether any prisoners escaped.

Later, reports from northern Cameroon said militants had seized a bus with at least 18 people on board. A resident from the town of Koza told The Associated Press that the militants drove the bus back toward the Nigerian border.

A new video posted to YouTube showed Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau mocking the regional force being assembled to combat the Islamist extremists. Shekau said a force of 7,000 soldiers is small and his fighters can kill them one by one.

He also threatened Chadian President Idriss Deby, whose troops battled Boko Haram fighters last week in Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon.

On Saturday, delegates from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin solidified plans to create a regional force to fight the militants. The plan calls for deployment of up to 8,750 soldiers.

Niger's parliament was set to vote Monday on a measure authorizing troops to enter Nigeria.

Boko Haram has killed thousands of people since launching its insurgency since 2009 and controls dozens of towns in northeast Nigeria. Regional concern grew last month when the group seized a multi-national base on the shores of Lake Chad.

Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission cited the security situation as its reason for delaying presidential and parliamentary elections for six weeks until March 28.

The opposition All Progressives Congress protested the decision, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that Washington is "deeply disappointed" by the postponement.

President Goodluck Jonathan has come under intense criticism in Nigeria for failing to end the Boko Haram insurgency. Political observers have said he and the ruling PDP party are in danger of losing at the polls.

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