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The armed forces of Niger Republic have reportedly killed 287 fighters from the terrorist group Boko Haram, the Ministry of Defence said on Thursday.

“Since Friday, there were air and ground operations against members of the terrorist militia in the region of Diffa in the south of the country, on the border with Nigeria.

“The fighters were planning several major attacks from there,’’ Defence Minister Kalla Moutari said.

Boko Haram is mainly active in north-eastern Nigeria and has killed over 20,000 people since 2009.

The Islamist fundamentalists continue to carry out attacks in the neighbouring areas of Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

The countries of the Sahel, a sub-Saharan region stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, are home to a number of criminal networks and extremist groups, some with ties to al-Qaeda or Islamic State.

Several other countries are militarily active in the region to ensure stability, including Germany.

The Bundeswehr is involved with about 1,000 soldiers in a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali and operates an air base in Niger.

dpa/NAN

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