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1 soldier killed, 4 injured in Nigerien army clash with armed men


15:09, November 09, 2011

NIAMEY, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- A confrontation in northern Niger between a patrol unit of the national army and heavily armed men coming from a neighboring country killed one soldier and an unknown number of assailants, the military said on Tuesday in the capital Niamey.

A statement from the Nigerien National Defense Ministry broadcast on state television said four other soldiers were injured during the clash which occurred on Sunday.

The public relations officer for the Nigerien Armed Forces (FAN) , Abdoulaye Adamou Harouna, said there was a heavy loss of lives on the side of assailants, but he did not give a precise figure.

However, he said a number of the assailants were arrested and that the army managed to seize heavy weapons including machine guns of different calibre, RPG-7 types of rockets, six Toyota vehicles and thousands of different calibres of cartridges.

Delivering condolences to the family of the slain soldier and wishing a quick recovery to the wounded soldiers, the national defense minister expressed his satisfaction with the performance of the Nigerien security and defense forces.

In the statement, the minister "assured the Nigerien people of the willingness and determination of the defense and security forces to work for their well-being and security, in any place at all time, and at whatever price."

This bloody confrontation between FAN and the armed assailants in northern Niger bordering Libya is the first of its kind since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

Many of Gaddafi's forces fled to the neighboring countries, especially Niger, with an unknown number of weapons.

This adds to the challenge by the North African wing of Al- Qaeda (AQIM) and traffickers of different types of products in Niger's northern zone.

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