Togo repels ‘terrorist’ attack: official

Togolese armed forces said on Tuesday they repelled a “terrorist” attack that injured “several” soldiers in the far north village of Blamonga on the border with Burkina Faso.

The attack, which took place on Monday, was the fifth in the country since last year, as jihadist groups operating in the Sahel appear to be gradually moving towards the west African coast.

“Around 22:00 GMT, Operation Koundjoare security forces were once again the victims of a complex attack involving an improvised explosive device on one of our patrols in the village of Blamonga,” Lt. Col. Samah Soussou in a private radio interview FM channel.

“Members of armed terrorist groups opened fire. Our soldiers, who are brave and determined, fought back vigorously, forcing the enemy to retreat,” Soussou said.

“Unfortunately, we have registered several injured people who are being taken care of,” he added, without giving further details.

The official said the militants have retreated to Burkina Faso, making it difficult to pursue them across the border.

But a demining operation is underway on the Togolese side, he added.

The country declared a state of emergency earlier this year in its far northern provinces to allow security forces to operate with more flexibility.

Eight soldiers were killed in May in an assault claimed by a Mali-based alliance of al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists.

Gunmen also clashed with Togolese soldiers outside a military post in the Goulingoushi area in June, before being forced to cross the border.

The deadliest attack took place in July, when armed men attacked four villages in the north.

The government has not confirmed the death toll, but local media said at least 15 people were killed in the attack.

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