US soldiers hit in Niger bomb explosion

A US army vehicle hit an improvised explosive device as it entered a firing range during a training exercise near the town of Oullam, south-west Niger, the army says.

There were no fatalities but the soldiers are "being evaluated", it adds in a statement.

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The soldiers were travelling in a mine-resistant vehicle when the explosion happened.

The US is supporting Niger in its fight against Islamist militants in the region.

In 2017, four US soldiers and four Nigerian soldiers were killed in an ambush near the Malian border.

Niger repels attack on 'most dangerous' prison

Himadou Amadou

BBC Afrique, Niamey

A terror attack on a prison which holds former Boko Haram fighters and drug traffickers was foiled on Monday, Niger's interior minister has said.

Security sources told BBC Afrique about 15 attackers drove up in three vehicles marked with the logo of medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and opened fire on national guard officers on duty at Koutoukalé prison, killing one of them.

The prison 50km (30 miles) outside the capital, Niamey, is Niger's highest-security prison hosting some of the country's most dangerous prisoners.

A similar attack on the prison in 2016 saw assailants arrive with explosives on motorbikes, AFP reports.

It is believed that this time, the vehicles used by the attackers were stolen from MSF earlier this month in the Tillabéri region.

In their retreat from Koutoukalé prison on Monday, the attackers reportedly took with them a national guard military vehicle. Niger's government says security forces pursued the assailants.

A maps howing the location of Niamey and the Tillabéri region

In numbers: Collapsed buildings in Nigeria

The deaths of 11 people when a building collapsed in Lagos yesterday has led to questions about how often this happens.

A report by Nigeria's housing ministry reveals that:

  • 199 people died in four Nigerian collapsed buildings between 2014 and 2016
  • 2012: 33 building collapses in Lagos and 22 in Abuja, according to housing ministry figures
  • 2013: 17 building collapses in Lagos and 20 in Abuja
  • 2014: 13 building collapse in Lagos and two in Abuja
  • More than 54 cases of collapsed buildings were recorded in 2017 across Nigeria
  • The latest collapse was the third so far in 2019.

Rescue efforts were called off today, as we reported earlier.

Read more: Five reasons why buildings collapse

Niger forces kill 280 militants

BBC World Service

The government of Niger says the army has killed more than 280 Boko Haram militants in days of land and air raids near the border with Nigeria.

In a statement read out on Niger state television, the defence ministry said most of the Islamist militants had died in air strikes.

The army said its troops had also captured rocket launchers, assault weapons and ammunition during an offensive on islands in Lake Chad and along the Komadougou Yobe river.

Niger has recently expressed concern about setbacks at the hands of Boko Haram suffered by Nigeria where the jihadists' insurgency began 10 years ago.