Fighters target the police station in the city of Dassari in what appears to be a spillover effect from the unrest in neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Two police officers have been killed and another injured in a rebel attack on a police station in northwestern Benin, local media and police sources said, in what appears to be a spillover effect from the unrest in neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Fighters descended on the Dassari police station at about 2 a.m. local time (01:00 GMT) on Sunday and opened fire, killing two officers before being pushed back, a police officer who declined to be named told Reuters news agency.
“Our troops were able to resist. Unfortunately, there were two deaths in our ranks,” the police officer said. Two “terrorists” were also killed and several others injured, he added.
The local news channel 24 Heures reported that an officer was injured in the attack. The fighters also set seized motorcycles on fire at the station, 24 Heures reported.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
Series of deadly attacks
The attack is the latest in a series of deadly attacks in an area hit by an overspill of rebel activity into neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Dassari is a town about 600 km (373 miles) northwest of Benin’s largest city Cotonou, near the border with Burkina Faso.
It is about 250 km from a police station in Karimama municipality, near the border with Niger, which was raided by armed attackers on April 26 – killing at least one and injuring many others.
Groups associated with al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) — operating in northern Benin and the Sahel region of West Africa — have escalated attacks in recent weeks.
In April, five soldiers were killed when an army convoy hit an improvised explosive device planted in northern Pendjari National Park.
Benin’s government said the country had suffered nearly 20 attacks by armed groups, according to the first official count released in May.
Benin’s first known deadly attack was in December last year, when two soldiers were killed near the troubled border with Burkina.
The government responded by announcing increased military deployment in the north to protect the border.