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Regional forces retake Nigerian town from Boko Haram, says Niger

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Regional forces have retaken a town in northeastern Nigeria where Boko Haram members were said to have fled after suffering losses elsewhere, Niger’s military said Wednesday.

The situation in the town of Malam Fatori near the Niger border had been unclear, with the Nigerian army previously claiming it was under its control.

There was no immediate comment from Nigeria, which has just emerged from a presidential election won by opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari.

A spokesman for Niger’s army said Malam Fatori was retaken by regional forces on Tuesday. Neighbouring Chad and Niger have been pursuing Boko Haram militants in the area as part of a regional offensive against the Islamists.

“Malam Fatori fell last night,” Moustapha Ledru told AFP.

He said the militants fled without much of a fight, after isolated clashes that left around 10 suspected Islamists dead.

Regional forces have claimed a string of successes in recent weeks against Boko Haram, forcing the militants out of towns they had occupied in northeastern Nigeria.

The borders of Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon converge around Lake Chad in the region.

Nigeria’s incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan had faced intense criticism during the election campaign over his failure to tackle the insurgency, which has left more than 13,000 people dead since 2009.

Nigeria’s vote had been due to be held on February 14 but security concerns forced the country’s electoral commission to postpone it to March 28.

Buhari, an ex-military ruler, decisively won the election, which ushered in the first democratic transition in Africa’s most populous nation.


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