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Niger, Burkina Faso hail joint ops against jihadists

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Niger and Burkina Faso's armies on Saturday hailed the results of joint operations against jihadist forces, saying they had killed more than 100 "terrorists" so far this month.

Their joint statement came two weeks into their coordinated campaign along their common border against the forces behind a string of deadly attacks there.

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Operations involving several hundred soldiers from each army have been carried out on both sides of the border, said the Burkinabe military command.

So far they have killed more than a hundred "terrorists", destroyed around a hundred of their motorbikes and other vehicles, as well as capturing or destroying weapons, said the joint statement.

"These results have lived up to our expectations," said General Salifou Modi, chief of staff of Niger's army, during a visit to a military camp at Dori, the capital of the Sahel region, in northern Burkina Faso.

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A number of jihadists had also been arrested, he added.

The troops on the ground for Operation Taanli -- "alliance" or "cohesion" in the local Gulmacema language of eastern Burkina Faso -- have also had air support for reconnaissance and search operations.

The operation has focused on Tera and Torodi in Niger, as well as Dori, Mansia and Diapaga in Burkina Faso.

"In these areas, the populations will be left in peace -- at least for a while," said General Moise Miningou, chief of staff of the Burkinabe army. "We think that is what is essential.

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"We are poor countries and our future lies in being able to pool our meagre resources," he added.

That way, he said, "we will get much better results. That's what has been done and we don't mean to stop so far down the right track."

The two impoverished countries of western Africa have had to contend with repeated attacks from jihadists since 2015, which have claimed hundreds of lives and forced thousands to flee their homes.

The attacks have been attributed to groups affiliated to the Islamic State organisation or to Al Qaeda.

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