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Saturday, October 27, 2007

MNJ Aledges 12 Niger Soldiers Killed

Niger rebels say they kill 12 soldiers in ambush
Sat 27 Oct 2007, 17:37 GMT

NIAMEY, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Niger's Tuareg-led rebels said on Saturday they had killed at least 12 soldiers and destroyed two army vehicles in the desert north of the central African country, but the military denied this.

The Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ), which has already killed more than 45 soldiers during an eight-month uprising, said on its Web site it carried out the ambush at dawn on Thursday near Touara, in the region of Agadez.

The MNJ has not staged any attacks since the start of the Muslim fast of Ramadan last month, during which it had declared a truce.

The deputy head of Niger's army, Colonel Garba Maikido, told national radio that only a few soldiers had been lightly injured after a vehicle ran over a mine near the Algerian border.
Maikido was speaking at the presentation of a seizure of 1.1 tonnes of cannabis resin, worth an estimated 7 billion CFA francs ($15.33 million), captured by an army patrol in the northern region of Air.

Soldiers also seized arms, munitions and aircraft fuel.
President Mamadou Tandja's government has refused to recognise the MNJ, blaming the violence in northern Niger on bandits and smugglers of arms and drugs.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

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