NIAMEY, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Fifteen soldiers were killed Saturday in an ambush by unidentified armed individuals in Torodi, a department in Niger's western Tillabery region, near the border with Burkina Faso, the Defense Ministry has said.
"Elements of the Defense and Security Forces of Operation Saki 2, on a supply mission for the Boni outpost in the north of the Torodi department, were ambushed by armed terrorist groups," the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
"They came across an improvised explosive device in their efforts to evacuate the wounded. This attack caused 15 soldiers killed, six missing and seven wounded," it said.
Army and police forces, backed by the air force, have launched a wide sweep in the area, the statement said.
Niger has in recent years suffered devastating attacks in its western part, perpetrated by terrorist organizations linked to Alkaidah in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqmi), Ancar Dine and other militant groups based in north Mali. Hundreds of civilians and soldiers were killed in those attacks, according to official statistics.