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Nigerien army recruits held hostage by suicide-bomber in Agadez region


17:02, May 24, 2013

NIAMEY, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Several Nigerien army recruits are being held hostage in a house within the Agadez military barracks in the northern part of the country, following a suicide attack that left 20 soldiers dead at the camp on Thursday morning, an official source said.

Two simultaneous attacks on Thursday morning struck the Agadez military barracks and a factory of Somair company which is a subsidiary of the French group Areva in further northern town of Arlit. The twin suicide-attacks left a total of 25 people dead including 20 Nigerien soldiers and five assailants, with 30 others being injured.

Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an islamist movement operating in northern Mali, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Niger's Interior and Public Safety Minister Abdou Labo said a suicide-bomber locked himself up in a house within the barracks together with young army recruits at the Agadez barracks.

A military source said the house had been surrounded and that measures were being taken to arrest the suicide-bomber and set free the army recruits.

The Nigerien government declared a three-day national mourning period across the entire national territory which started Thursday.

Since the beginning of the crisis in neighboring Mali, this is the first time that attacks of such magnitude have been carried out on the Nigerien territory.

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