An adviser to Niger's president says at least 70 soldiers have been killed by suspected jihadists in the West African country's deadliest attack yet.
"A substantial number of terrorists were neutralised" in Tuesday's attack which also left 12 military personnel injured and others missing, the ministry added.
Tuesday's attack struck a base in the western Niger town of Inates, the sources said, in the same area where the Islamic State group's West African branch killed almost 50 Nigerien soldiers in two attacks in May and July. "The explosions from ammunition and fuel were the cause of the heavy toll", the source said, as quoted by the agency.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which is believed to be the deadliest against Niger's military in living memory.
President Mahamadou Issoufou tweeted on Wednesday that he would be cutting short his overseas trip to Egypt so he could return home to deal with the crisis, The Associated Press reported.