Boko Haram crisis: Attack in Niger kills dozens
An attack by suspected Islamist Boko Haram fighters in Niger has killed at least 38 people, officials say.
It took place late on Wednesday night, according to a security source quoted by the Reuters news agency.
Local MP Bulu Mammadu told the BBC that the victims included women and children who had been shot dead in two different villages.
Boko Haram is based in Nigeria but is being tackled by a multinational force, including soldiers from Niger.
On Monday, there was a suspected Boko Haram suicide attack in Chad, which is also supplying soldiers to the multinational force.
Chad responded to that attack with air strikes on suspected Boko Haram positions.
BBC Nigeria correspondent Will Ross says that by attacking Niger, Chad and Nigeria this week, Boko Haram appears to be hitting out at a region which is determined to unite and fight the jihadists.
In Niger, Mr Mammadu said that, as well as killing people, the militants had burnt down several houses in the two villages of Lamina and Ungumawo in the Diffa region, close to Nigeria's border.
Boko Haram first attacked Niger in February when the government said it repulsed an attack, killing more than 100 of the group's fighters.
Since being sworn in last month, Nigeria's new President Muahammadu Buhari has pushed ahead with plans to beef up the multinational force which will be made up of 7,500 troops.
The US has backed the force and offered $5m (£3.2m) to help get it established.
President Buhari promised in a message on his Twitter feed on Thursday that the "efforts to strengthen security cooperation with our neighbours and adjust our own response to Boko Haram will yield results very soon".
Boko Haram was founded in northern Nigeria in 2002 with the aim of creating an Islamic state, and has since caused havoc through a wave of bombings, assassinations and abductions.