Boko Haram kill 6 in southeast Niger

Since 2015, troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria have been grouped into a mixed, multi-national force in a bid to help fight Islamist militants (AFP Photo/ISSOUF SANOGO)

Niamey (AFP) - Boko Haram islamists have shot dead six people in a village in south Niger, near the border with Nigeria, a local official said Saturday.

"Six people were killed Friday night by Boko Haram at Bague Djaradi," a village in Toumour commune, the official told AFP, adding the assailants were on foot.

The attack was the latest in a series ascribed to the jihadist group which began a bloody insurgency in 2009 that has spread to neighbouring countries, prompting a regional military response.

Some 27,000 people have been killed and two million displaced, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.

Militants have targeted soldiers and civilians alike, and are blamed for abductions of children and employees of foreign companies.

Last Tuesday the group was blamed for the deaths of four people in Bosso, a town not far from Toumour, and for the torching of several vehicles.

The Bosso and Toumour attacks follow on a recent military offensive against the group in the area which saw more than 200 militia killed, according to army sources.

Although Lake Chad forms a natural barrier limiting the group's easy access across the border from Nigeria the presidents of Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon appealed for international support at a November 29 meeting in Chad's capital N'Djamena.