Twenty-two soldiers have been killed in an attack on a camp of Malian refugees in Niger, the government said Friday.
Five soldiers were injured in Thursday's attack.
The attackers rode in two vehicles into the Tazalit refugee camp, some 180 kilometres from the Malian border, opening fire at soldiers staying in a barracks who had been posted there to protect the refugees, Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported.
"The surprise effect of this attack caused a lot of casualties," Prime Minister Brigi Rafini said late Thursday.
The attackers stole weapons, munitions, a vehicle and fled towards the Malian border, according to RFI.
Their identity was not known, but a soldier who survived the attack told dpa they were thought to be jihadists.
The government decreed two days of mourning and said an investigation was under way.
Last month, three civilians where killed when unidentified attackers targeted another refugee camp closer to the Malian border, according to RFI.
Niger's army is battling Boko Haram militants coming in from Nigeria, while also trying to prevent jihadist violence from spilling over from Mali.