Two suicide bombings by militants from Islamist extremist group Boko Haram left five civilians and a policeman dead in Niger on Sunday, a humanitarian worker said.
“There were 10 deaths in total: a policeman, five civilians and the four suicide bombers,” said the source, based in the southeastern city of Diffa where the blasts occurred.
“Apparently, the assailants, all armed with explosive belts, were going after military targets but they were unable to hit any,” the source said, adding some people with light injuries were taken to hospital.
“They were chased by inhabitants who informed the army and they swiftly went after them.”
A municipal official earlier had given a toll of three civilian deaths in Diffa, a city near the border with Nigeria.
The region had experienced several weeks of relative calm but 15 civilians were killed in a Boko Haram attack in a southeastern village in the Diffa area on September 25 and two soldiers died in an ambush last Thursday.
Niger has joined a regional military alliance, alongside Chad, Niger and Nigeria, to fight Boko Haram, which was waged a bloody insurgency since 2009 marked by mass abductions, village massacres and suicide bombings by women and teenagers.
Since February this year, the Diffa region has suffered several deadly Boko Haram raids.
In June, 38 civilians were killed — including 10 children — in a Boko Haram attack targeting two villages close to the city.
In July, the Islamists raided the city’s prison in a likely bid to free detained members, killing a guard. The same month Boko Haram killed 16 civilians in an attack on a southeastern Niger village.
Diffa lies on the border with northeast Nigeria, where the Islamists have waged a bloody uprising since 2009, leaving at least 15,000 dead and more than two million others homeless.
Thousands of Nigerian refugees have fled to southeast Niger to escape Boko Haram with one of the largest refugee camps about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Diffa.