Niger president says Boko Haram will be defeated

NIAMEY, Niger (AP) " Niger's president has reassured residents in the southeast Diffa region that Islamic extremists Boko Haram, who stage attacks there, will be defeated, and called on all citizens to rally behind government development plans.

President Issoufou Mahamadou addressed the nation late Tuesday, before Wednesday's celebration of 56 years of independence from former colonial France.

Mahamadou, who won a second five-year term in March elections, said the multinational force with neighboring countries will defeat the Nigeria-based militants.

He also said despite security and climate challenges Niger has in the past five years reduced its poverty rate, and has had an average economic growth rate of 6 percent. He said it has also improved ranking with Transparency International moving from 134 to 99.

The sprawling, landlocked desert country remains among the world's poorest.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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