Hollande Backs Niger in Hostage Raid Friday

Niamey, the capital of Niger. Photo: Flickr/kaysha

Niamey, the capital of Niger. Photo: Flickr/kaysha

On Friday May 24, 2013, French Special Forces aided Nigerien troops in an operation that raided an army base in northern Niger. The collaborative effort ended a hostage situation following an attack on the army base by extremists on Thursday. Two Nigerien cadets were taken hostage within the base.

The aggressors had barricaded themselves in a building on the base, but the combined French-Nigerien forces broke through the defenses. Two of the extremists were killed, and the hostages were released unharmed.

This effectively ended the extremist attack that started Thursday when suicide bombers simultaneously set off explosions at the army base and a French-operated uranium mine that is also located in the northern region of Niger. Nigerien officials said that 18 soldiers and one civilian were killed at the base. The mine claimed one dead and 14 injured. The attackers had forcibly driven cars loaded with explosives past the gates of the base and the mine.

The incidents have been linked to the group Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda and based out of Mali. Additionally, the jihadist group, Signatories in Blood, also claims responsibility for the attacks.

According to a spokesperson for Signatories in Blood, the group will continue assaults in Niger until the country withdraws its forces from Mali.

French President Francois Hollande asserted that France would not stand for such actions, “We will not intervene in Niger as we did in Mali, but we have the same willingness to cooperate to fight against terrorism.”



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