Attacks in Niger Underline a Spread of Islamist Extremist Groups in West Africa

The World

Veteran jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar speaks in this undated still image taken from a video released by Sahara Media on January 21, 2013. Belmokhtar has claimed responsibility in the name of al Qaeda for the Algerian hostage-taking, and his Mulathameen Brigade warned it would carry out further attacks on foreign interests unless the fighting in Mali stopped Mauritanian news website Sahara Media said on January 20. REUTERS/Sahara Media via Reuters TV (ALGERIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3CRP8


Islamist militants set off two suicide bombings in Niger Thursday. One targeted a uranium mine run by a French company. The other hit a military base. About 20 people were killed in addition to the bombers. And Friday, French special forces helped Niger's military secure the military base, where it turns out two militants were still hiding in a dormitory. They were shot dead in the operation. Thomas Fessy is the BBC's West Africa Correspondent, based in Dakar, Senegal. He says the attacks were most likely a spill-over from the conflict in neighboring Mali.