Eight soldiers have been killed and 13 wounded in an attack in northern Togo on Wednesday, the government has announced.
This marks potentially the first deadly raid on its territory by Islamist militants who have claimed thousands of lives in neighbouring countries.
According to reports, the attack by heavily armed gunmen took place before dawn at an army post in the Kpendjal prefecture near the border with Burkina Faso, the government said in a statement sourced by Reuters.
Security analysts suspect this may be the works of a local al Qaeda affiliate that is based in Mali.
These attacks are not news in Sahel region of West Africa. Hundreds of attacks have been recorded in recent years linked to Islamic State and al Qaeda.
Violence from armed groups and criminal networks is on the rise across West Africa.
At a meeting of West African defence chiefs last week, Ghana’s Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul said that in three years the region had suffered more than 5,300 terror-related attacks claiming around 16,000 lives.
Togo has so far been spared the violence, which has forced millions to flee their homes, but security experts have warned about a spread in operations that could cover coastal states like Togo.
In 2018, Togo’s military launched an operation to stop Islamist groups from ghosting in from the north.