Cotonou in Benin-The government confirmed that an attack by Islamic extremists in northern Benin killed at least eight people, including military soldiers, park rangers and French instructors.
According to Benin government spokesman Wilfried Leandre Humbegi, six people were killed and 12 were injured in an ambush on Tuesday. ..
He said the attack killed five rangers and their French instructor.
The Rangers were part of a poaching prevention patrol in collaboration with African Park, an international organization that manages several parks on the continent, including W National Park. W Park is shaped like the letters of the alphabet following the corner of the Niger River, which straddles Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso.
Reinforcements from the Benin Army have been deployed in the area, and African Parks is working with the government to secure staff and a surrounding private community, a spokesman said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Islamic extremist and Islamic State groups associated with al-Qaeda are spreading violence throughout West Africa, including coastal countries such as Benin.
The French State Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office said it had begun investigating the killings, adding that the French instructor involved was 50 years old.
A second attack occurred on Thursday, when a park patrol collided with an improvised land mine and was subsequently assaulted. He said civilians and park agents died in the incident.
According to the Associated Press’s internal security report, there have been multiple attacks on Benin’s troops since December. In December, two Benin soldiers were killed by Jihadis near the border with Burkina Faso.
The government warns that safety is important because there are militants near the area called the “triple point” where the park is adjacent to all three countries.
Recent attacks in Benin raise concerns about the potential spread of radical violence spilling from the Sahel region, “said Laith Alkhouri, CEO of Intelonyx Intelligence Advisory. “Risks are a potential security crisis, especially in the northern part of the country, which will overwhelm the security equipment there. This should be prevented early.”
By Virgile Ahissou