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CrisisWatch Niger

Unchanged Situation

Security situation remained fragile in south west and authorities sought to stifle growing protest movement against foreign military presence. In Tillabery region (south west), suspected jihadist militants 4 Dec stormed army position near Fantio locality in Tera department, killing at least 12 soldiers; defence forces next day said they had killed “dozens” of militants in fighting. Niger and Burkina Faso 25 Nov-9 Dec conducted joint offensive along shared border as part of second phase of Taanli joint operation launched last June, claimed to have killed around 100 jihadists notably in Torodi department. French air strike 20 Dec reportedly killed leading Islamic State in the Greater Sahara member Soumana Boura north of Tillabery city. Presumed jihadists overnight 22-23 Dec simultaneously attacked border post and bridge near Makalondi village (Torodi department), killing at least seven. Meanwhile, UN refugee agency 3 Dec said violence in Nigeria’s North West had forced 11,500 people to flee into Niger in Nov, with most taking shelter in rural commune of Bangui in Tahoua region (which neighbours Tillabery); influx of refugees could present local authorities with additional challenge. Tensions persisted after protest against French military presence late Nov turned deadly in Tillabery’s Tera department; defence and interior ministers 4 and 11 Dec respectively refused to appear before parliament to answer questions on incident. Authorities 5 and 12 Dec banned two demonstrations against western military presence organised by civil society coalition Tournons la page (TLP); 10 Dec reportedly detained 15 TLP members, most of whom were allegedly taking part in rally in capital Niamey on Human Rights Day. In address to seventh edition of Peace and Security Forum in Senegal’s capital Dakar, President Bazoum 6 Dec urged external partners to increase efforts to stop illicit arms flows originating from Libya, described them as “most important parameter” behind jihadist violence in Sahel, and argued Sahelian countries should be granted exceptional financial resources to resolve security crisis.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

24 Mar 2021
Il faut voir ces attaques [au Niger] comme une forme de punition collective contre ces communautés où une résistance s'organise. AFP

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

Consulting Analyst, Sahel
21 Feb 2021
Niger has faced growing insecurity on many of its borders. [It] is one of the major challenges that the upcoming administration will have to face. Associated Press

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

Consulting Analyst, Sahel
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

Former 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

Former 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 (Sabbatical Leave)
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

Former Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel

Latest Updates

Q&A / Africa

Burkina Faso et Niger : des élections à l’épreuve des insurrections ?

Le Burkina Faso et le Niger se dirigent tous deux vers des élections générales. Rinaldo Depagne et Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim décryptent leurs enjeux et insistent sur la nécessité pour leurs vainqueurs de se pencher sur l’insécurité croissante dans les régions rurales, provoquée en grande partie par la présence de groupes jihadistes.

Event Recording / Africa

Defeating the Spike in Jihadist Attacks in Niger’s Tillabery (Online Event, 10th June 2020)

Crisis group's Sahel Senior Analyst Hannah Armstrong and Africa Deputy Program Director Dino Mahtani held a panel moderated by our Director for Africa Regional Advocacy Elissa Jobson, on the renewed spike in jihadist attacks in Niger’s Tillabery region and Niamey’s response to it.

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

Report / Africa

Sidelining the Islamic State in Niger’s Tillabery

Islamist militants are making further inroads into Tillabery, a region on Niger’s border with Mali. To fend off the threat, Niamey should supplement its counter-insurgency campaign with initiatives aimed at soothing communal tensions along the frontier and starting dialogue with locals in the jihadists’ orbit.

Also available in Français
Commentary / Africa

Covid-19 au Niger : réduire les tensions entre Etat et croyants pour mieux contenir le virus

Au Niger, alors que le ramadan va débuter dans la soirée du 23 avril, les tensions autour de la fermeture des mosquées dans le contexte de la pandémie de Covid-19 s’accentuent. Le gouvernement devrait autoriser la réouverture des mosquées en la conditionnant au respect strict des règles sanitaires préconisées par l’OMS.