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Suicide Bomber Attacks Niger Town; Chad Repels Boko Haram

by VOA News February 11, 2015

A female suicide bomber has blown herself up in the Niger town of Diffa, a day after authorities declared a state of emergency there because of attacks by Nigeria's Boko Haram militants.

Diffa governor Yakoubou Soumanou Gawo told VOA's Hausa service that the suicide bomber tried to attack the military Wednesday but succeeded only in killing herself.

Schools and businesses in Diffa are closed as residents stayed home or sought to flee the town on the Niger-Nigeria border. Boko Haram launched attacks in Diffa on Friday and Monday but were driven back by troops from Niger and Chad.

Chad repels Boko Haram attack

Earlier, the Chadian military said its troops repelled an attack by Boko Haram in the Nigerian town of Gambaru, on the border with Cameroon. According to Reuters news agency, the army said it killed 13 fighters in the gunbattle.

Chad sent troops into Gambaru last week as part of the regional offensive against Boko Haram. Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin have pledged to contribute up to 8,700 troops for a special force to fight the militants.

Nigerian troops have been fighting Boko Haram since the group launched its insurgency in 2009.

The militants have killed thousands of civilians, displaced nearly a million others, and seized dozens of villages in northeastern Nigeria for what their leader says will be an Islamic caliphate.

Election concerns

The violence and unrest prompted Nigeria's electoral commission to postpone presidential and parliamentary elections by six weeks to March 28.

Nigeria's military on Wednesday promised to stay out of the political fray after the electoral commission's chairman, Attahiru Jega, revealed he'd received a letter from the national security adviser's office warning his safety couldn't be assured unless the February 14 elections were delayed, Reuters reported.

'It is important to reassure Nigerians that the military will remain professional, apolitical and nonpartisan in all operates' related to elections, Major-General Chris Olukolade, the defense spokesman, said in a statement.

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