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Benin: two soldiers killed by homemade bomb in the north

Benin: two soldiers killed by homemade bomb in the north
A Beninese policeman and soldier stop a motorcyclist at a checkpoint outside Porga, March 26, 2022   -  
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Marco Simoncelli/Marco Simoncelli


Two soldiers on motorcycle patrol in northern Benin were killed on Tuesday by an improvised explosive device, military and police sources said on Wednesday.

This region, like the north of neighboring Togo and Ghana, is regularly rocked by attacks and incursions by jihadist fighters, and a few months ago the Beninese government announced the deployment of additional soldiers to deal with them.

While on motorcycle patrol Tuesday morning in the commune of Karimama, near the border with Niger, two soldiers died after jumping on a homemade bomb, AFP learned from a military source, a policeman, and a local resident.

"We lost two men this Tuesday" who "jumped on a homemade mine", an anonymous military source told AFP.

"Two soldiers on motorcycles lost their lives because they ran over a mine", a policeman on duty in the area confirmed to AFP.

The accident was confirmed by a local resident.

The Beninese government had no immediate comment on the incident.

In recent years, the northern regions of Benin, Togo, and Ghana have been subjected to attacks and incursions by fighters from the Islamic State (EI) and al-Qaeda groups, who thrive in the Sahel and seek to spread southwards.

While the border region with Burkina Faso in the north remains the epicenter of attacks on Beninese soil, the border with Niger has recently become a source of concern, particularly since the overthrow of Nigerien president Mohamed Bazoum by the military in July 2023.

In response to this growing threat of attacks on its soil, Benin launched Operation Mirador in January 2022, a deployment of some 3,000 soldiers to secure the country's borders. A few months ago, it also began recruiting 5,000 additional soldiers to reinforce security in the north.

The Beninese authorities, who rarely communicate on these attacks, reported in April that there had been around twenty incursions from the other side of the border since 2021.

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