Newsmen gathered that, Niger’s air force has bombed a convoy of trucks carrying smoked fish to Nigeria, a trade banned by local officials because it is suspected of helping to finance the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, on Wednesday.
“Earlier this week, air forces fired on merchandise vans along the river Kamadougou,” said reporters. The river separates northern Nigeria from southeastern Niger.
The people in the trucks fled over the border into Nigeria, the source said.
Niger officials say Boko Haram taxes fishermen or seizes their catches along the shores of Lake Chad and uses the money to help fund their bid to carve out a caliphate in northeast Nigeria. The insurgency, which has killed thousands, was partly responsible for delaying Nigeria’s election earlier this month.
Report later confirmed the incident and said about a dozen people suspected of involvement in trading fish for Boko Haram were arrested earlier this week.
Fishing is one of the main economic activities in Diffa, and much of the fish caught there is shipped to Nigeria. Boko Haram also raises cash through ransom paid for hostages and the sale of stolen cattle, security sources say.
A senior Cameroonian military officer said the army there was working with Chad to freeze the group’s trade.
“What we have been trying to do is stop any kind of economic activity that Boko Haram could be benefiting from. We are trying to choke all their resources,” he said on Wednesday.
Regional armies have massed troops along Nigeria’s border before a joint operation against the Islamists.