The Niger government said on Wednesday that the army had killed about 40 Boko Haram jihadists in an overnight battle on the island in Lake Chad.
The Defense Ministry said “some 100 Boko Haram fighters arrived in four large wooden canoes and an armed speedboat” and attempted to attack troops on the islands of the lake, which border Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.
The troops, the ministry said, “forced the attackers to flee with many dead in their ranks.”
A subsequent operation in the area “neutralized some 40 fighters” and led to the recovery of several weapons along with ammunition and explosives.
On the Army side, seven soldiers were injured when their vehicle was detonated by an improvised explosive device, the ministry said.
Lake Chad and its countless small islands have become main havens for jihadists from Nigeria’s Boko Haram and its dissident branch, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad revived the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) in 2015 to fight extremists.
A senior MJTF official told AFP earlier this month that the military launched a new offensive in March, aimed “to completely destroy Boko Haram and other terrorist groups affecting the basin”.
The combined force killed around 20 jihadists in an operation in early May.
Boko Haram started an insurgency in northeastern Nigeria in 2009 before spreading to neighboring countries.
The United Nations says more than 36,000 people have been killed since then, mainly in Nigeria, and three million have been forced to flee their homes.