Benin army vehicle strikes land mine as security fears in north grow


DAKAR (Reuters) – A Benin army vehicle struck an improvised explosive system in a nationwide park close to the border with Burkina Faso on Thursday, the park’s administration stated, the newest in a collection of security incidents as fears rise about widening Islamist violence.

Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported that two troopers have been killed in the explosion. Reuters was not instantly capable of affirm that report.

African Parks, the South African non-profit group that manages Pendjari National Park, stated in a press release that the explosion had occurred close to a lodge that has been closed since 2019. It made no touch upon casualties.

Benin is among the many West African coastal nations thought of most weak to a spillover of Islamist violence from the landlocked Sahel nations, the place teams linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State exert affect over huge tracts of territory.

The authorities confirmed two assaults by jihadist fighters close to the Burkina Faso border final month, together with one which killed two troopers and wounded a number of extra. Additional assaults have been reported in the native and French media since then however haven’t been confirmed by the authorities.

The prefect of the Atakora area, the place Thursday’s explosion occurred, stated there had been “an incident, not an assault” and stated the army would difficulty a press release with extra particulars.

Before final month’s violence, Benin had not reported an Islamist assault since 2019, when an area information was killed and two French vacationers have been kidnapped in Pendjari and later taken to Burkina Faso. They have been rescued from a militant group by French troopers.

Expanding conflicts in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are more and more threatening their neighbours to the south.

Togo stated final month it had repelled an assault close to its northern border, the primary by suspected Islamists in the nation. Ivory Coast has additionally suffered a number of Islamist assaults close to its border with Burkina Faso since 2020.

(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Additional reporting by Flore Nobime; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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