Security forces have faced more than a dozen militant incursions since last year, as concerns mount over the spread southward of violence from the Sahel linked to the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.
In the early hours of Wednesday, “terrorists attempted to infiltrate Materi [town] … where they were planning to launch a complex attack,” military spokesperson Ebenezer Honfoga said.
The gunmen were ambushed in a “security set up” and detonated an improvised explosive device they had been about to install, he added in a statement released on Wednesday.
They then “tried to attack the Beninese armed forces position that was in the area” but faced retaliation.
“At least eight terrorists were killed” and important equipment was retrieved, the official added, without giving further details.
Benin has suffered attacks on troops defending against Islamist militants from Burkina Faso and Niger, but criminal gangs and smugglers also operate in the area.
Benin’s government admitted in May that the north of the country had been the target of around 20 attacks by armed groups, though it did not use the word “jihadists.”
Voice of America