Over 30 killed in Niger clashes: Rebel group

June 28th, 2008 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS  

DPA
Nairobi, June 28 (DPA) Twenty-six government soldiers and seven rebels have been killed in clashes in Niger, the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ) said in a statement. The rebel group said that the commander of the unit involved in the fighting Friday was also missing.

Niger’s authorities confirmed that the battle took place, but said that none of its soldiers were killed.

The MNJ, which consists mainly of the nomadic Tuareg people, has carried out a series of attacks on the Nigerien military and foreign mining interests since early 2007.

Rebels want a bigger share in the profits from the uranium mines in the north of the country.

The group last weekend kidnapped four French employees of French nuclear group Areva. It released them unharmed a few days later.

The MNJ said that the kidnapping was aimed at showing Niger it could not guarantee the safety of foreign mining operations despite a government pledge to provide military protection to installations.
DPA

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