An armed group attacked a police post in northern Benin near the frontier with Burkina Faso, where several jihadist groups operate, leaving at least one officer wounded, police and residents said on Sunday.
It was the first such assault against security forces in Benin which borders three West African countries battling a growing jihadist insurgency.
Around ten armed men arrived on motorbikes and opened fire with automatic weapons on the police post in Keremou, a remote village near the town of Banikoara in the early hours of Sunday morning.
A police report seen by AFP said four officers were at the post when the attack happened. One officer is missing and one was seriously wounded, the report said.
The gun men shouted “God is greater” in Arabic during the attack, the report said.
“We lost one colleague in the attack, that is all we can say for the moment, and an investigation is still ongoing,” one police official said.
“It is difficult to say if it was poachers or jihadists, but they shouted ‘Allah Akbar’ when they were opening fire.”
The wounded officer managed to escape and hide in bushes during the attack.
Benin has been a relative safe haven in a region rocked by jihadist violence that has spread from Nigeria and Mali to the north.
Two French tourists were kidnapped last year and their tour guide killed in Benin’s remote Pendjari national park, on the porous border with Burkina Faso.
They were rescued soon after by French special forces in northern Burkina Faso where they had been taken.
Burkina Faso is struggling with intensifying jihadist violence that has spilled over the border from neighbouring Mali and spread across the Sahel region.