Bandits Kill Six Soldiers Guarding Pipeline To Benin

Niger Soldiers


At least six soldiers from the Republic of Niger who were assigned to protect an oil pipeline connecting to Benin were reportedly killed in an assault by armed bandits in the southern region of the country.

Naijaonpoint reports that Niger’s military confirmed this in a statement released on Sunday, June 16, stating that a patrol responsible for safeguarding the pipeline was ambushed by the assailants on the outskirts of Salkam village.

The Army regretted the loss of six of its comrades in the unfortunate attack.

In a publication during the weekend, AFP quoted a source to have informed journalists that the attack occurred on Wednesday.

This incident marks the first attack on the 2,000-kilometer pipeline, which links the Agadem oil field in the northeast to the port of Seme-Kpodji in Benin.

The army declared that it successfully compelled the attackers to retreat, resulting in an “unknown” number of casualties and wounded among them.

The targeted soldiers were part of an ongoing anti-terrorism operation that has been conducting patrols in the southern region of the country, near the borders of Nigeria and Benin.

The news of this attack emerged just two days after a diplomatic dispute between Niger and Benin escalated.

Earlier in the week, a Benin court sentenced three Nigerien individuals, including the deputy general director of the oil company Wapco-Niger, to imprisonment for illegally entering the Seme-Kpodji port.

Naijaonpoint reports that relations between Niger and Benin have been strained since the recent blockade on Nigerien oil was lifted by Benin, only for Niger to shut off the taps to the pipeline.

The two countries have been in a dispute over the closure of their shared border. The oil is crucial for both nations’ economies, as well as for the Chinese company Wapco, which manages the pipeline.

The region along the Niger-Benin border has experienced a series of “terrorist attacks” in recent months, as reported by Niamey’s defence ministry.

In response, the army has announced the formation of a “protection force” to address these attacks at key locations like uranium mines in the north and the oil field of Agadem, specifically the pipeline leading to Benin.

Additionally, Niger is facing challenges from jihadist groups associated with Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and Boko Haram in the western and southeastern parts of the country.