Minute of silence at UN for 89 Niger troops

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UN Security Council ambassadors stood for a minute of silence on Monday in memory of 89 soldiers killed last week during a jihadist assault on a Niger military base.

The 15 members of the council “strongly condemn” the attack, said Dan Dinh Quy, the ambassador for Vietnam which holds the council’s rotating presidency for January.

Thursday’s assault, near the Mali border, was the worst in Niger’s history. The country is a member of the G5 Sahel force whose members have come under increasing attack from extremists they have been sent to fight.

“Niger and West Africa need you all” in combat against against the extremists, Niger’s Ambassador Abdou Abarry stressed to his partner nations on the council.

Niger is a non-permanent member of the Security Council, and is joined in the G5 Sahel by Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania.

The moment of silence came on the same day that French President Emmanuel Macron hosts counterparts from the five Sahel countries to reassess their joint fight against the extremists.