Niamey - Two Niger soldiers were killed and several injured Wednesday in a foiled suicide attack by suspected Boko Haram extremists in the country's south-east, Defence Minister Mahamadou Karidjo said.
Speaking as Niger took possession of two US military intelligence planes aimed at helping it battle Islamist insurgents, Karidjo said the men died when troops attacked the would-be attackers, triggering their explosive devices.
Also read: Peterside appeals for relief to Rivers flood victims
"None of the suicide bombers hit their targets and they were all killed. It was when their bombs went off that some of our soldiers were hit," Karidjo said.
Private radio station Anfani said the attack took place in Diffa, on the border with Nigeria. A resident said villagers had been woken in the early morning by the sound of gunfire.
Niger, a vast arid country whose primary source of foreign income is uranium, has joined a regional military alliance alongside Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria, to fight Nigeria-based Boko Haram.
Since February, the Diffa region has suffered several attacks, including one in June in which 38 people were killed, including 10 children.
Karidjo said the suicide attacks were aimed at "killing as many people as possible."
"It's not tanks we need but intelligence to fight them," he said.