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Niger says 12 soldiers killed in attack near Mali

© AFP | Niger security forces have been regularly targeted by jihadist groups

NIAMEY (AFP) - 

Twelve paramilitary police were killed Saturday in a fresh attack in Niger's restive southwest bordering Mali, the interior minister said.

"There was a new attack. Twelve gendarmes were killed. We have launched search operations," Mohamed Bazoum told AFP.

It comes after an ambush at the beginning of October killed four US and four Niger soldiers along the border, which has been regularly targeted by jihadist groups.

The latest dawn raid happened in the town of Ayorou in the Tillaberi region, 200 kilometres (124 miles) northwest of the capital Niamey.

A security source said the attackers arrived in five vehicles and fled when police reinforcements arrived. Villagers saw them leave carrying bodies.

© 2017 AFP