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CrisisWatch Niger

Unchanged Situation

Amid persistent jihadist violence, independent body accused army of engaging in enforced disappearances. Independent body National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) 4 Sept accused “uncontrolled” army elements of forcibly disappearing over 100 men in Inates and Ayorou areas of Tillabery region in March-April; alleged exactions followed major jihadist attacks in area that left 160 soldiers dead in Dec-Jan; Defence Minister Issoufou Katambe 11 Sept denied soldiers’ responsibility. Islamic State (ISIS) 17 Sept claimed Aug attack that killed six French humanitarian workers and two Nigerien guides in Tillabery’s Kouré national park near capital Niamey. Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau (JAS) early Sept reportedly clashed in Diffa region in south east. Amid insecurity, govt 25 Sept prolonged state of emergency in Diffa, Tahoua, and Tillabery regions. In Agadez region in north, unidentified gunmen 12 Sept attacked military outpost on Arlit-Assamaka axis killing two national guards. Libyan forces affiliated with eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar mid-Sept arrested opposition figure Mahmoud Salah – who in Aug launched “politico-military” group near Niger-Libya border – and transferred him to Niamey. Rainy season peak brought flooding across country, leaving at least 71 dead. Judge in Niamey 29 Sept ordered provisional release of three human rights defenders arrested in March after taking part in protest and charged with “manslaughter”, “complicity in damaging public property” and “arson”; NGO Amnesty International next day called on authorities to drop all charges against them.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

11 Apr 2020
The problem, in Niger’s case, is that policies aimed at disrupting trafficking in the north could inadvertently end up fueling instability. Washington Post

Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel
4 Nov 2019
The main fault-line for conflict in the Mali-Niger border has shifted. A year ago, it was drawn between communities. Now it lies between militants loosely fighting under an IS banner and state forces. Twitter

Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel
22 Oct 2019
Les groupes djihadistes sont passés experts dans l’instrumentalisation des conflits pour mieux s'implanter. RFI

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Director, Sahel Project
24 Jul 2018
Jihadist groups present since the 2012 crisis in Mali exploited local unrest and the weak presence of the state in northern Mali to launch cross-border attacks against the Nigerien army... Despite direct support from Chadian troops since 2015 and closer collaboration with the Nigerian army, Nigerien forces have been unable to fully secure the border with Nigeria from attacks, including some linked to the Islamic State. Voice of America

Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel

Latest Updates

Op-Ed / Africa

« Au Niger, l’option militaire face à l’Etat islamique doit s’accompagner d’un projet politique »

L’analyste Hannah Armstrong regrette que Niamey délaisse le dialogue avec les communautés frontalières de la région de Tillabéri, notamment les nomades peuls.

Originally published in Le Monde

Video / Africa

Video - Managing Trafficking in Northern Niger

Crisis Group's Sahel Expert Hannah Armstrong explains that trafficking has long sustained livelihoods in northern Niger. But conflicts are emerging due to heightened competition and European pressure to curb migration. Authorities should persevere in managing the extralegal exchange to contain violence.

Q&A / Africa

Behind the Jihadist Attack in Niger's Inates

A shocking attack by an Islamic State affiliate has killed more than 70 Nigerien soldiers, the most ever in a single incident. Crisis Group expert Hannah Armstrong explains that the jihadists’ strength is rooted in decades-old communal grievances in the Mali-Niger border zone.

Also available in Français
Report / Africa

Reprendre en main la ruée vers l’or au Sahel central

Au Mali, au Burkina Faso et au Niger, le boom aurifère représente une nouvelle source de financement, voire un terrain de recrutement pour divers groupes armés, y compris jihadistes. Les Etats sahéliens devraient rétablir leur présence aux abords des mines d’or et mieux formaliser l’exploitation aurifère artisanale.

Also available in English
Op-Ed / Africa

A la frontière Niger-Mali, le nécessaire dialogue avec les hommes en armes

La stratégie qui privilégie une option militaire disproportionnée à la frontière entre le Niger et le Mali fait peser un risque sur la région : celui de créer un nouveau foyer d’insurrection. C'est le constat que dresse l’International Crisis Group, qui fait une série de recommandations.

Originally published in Jeune Afrique

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Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel