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French national among six killed in Benin attack, sources say

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By Reuters

DAKAR – A French national was among six people killed during an ambush on park rangers in northern Benin on Tuesday, according to three security sources with knowledge of the attack.

Five rangers and a soldier were killed and 10 others wounded when unknown militants raided the patrol in W National Park, the South African non-profit that manages the park, African Parks, said on Wednesday.

It was the deadliest in a string of attacks since December in northern Benin, where groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have spilled over from Burkina Faso and Niger.

Recent attacks in Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast have highlighted the expansion of Islamist violence from the landlocked Sahelian countries, where an insurgency has raged for much of the last decade, to West African coastal nations.

The identity of the French national was not immediately known. African Parks said it had no information available at the moment.

Former French military members have trained park rangers and accompanied them on patrols in Benin, where African Parks manages W and Pendjari National Parks.

Benin’s government planned to hold an emergency cabinet meeting on Thursday to address the rising violence.