CrisisWatch Niger

Unchanged Situation

U.S. troops announced Sept withdrawal date, govt strengthened ties with Sahelian neighbours amid tensions with Benin, and jihadist violence persisted. 

Govt and Washington agreed for U.S. troop withdrawal by mid-Sept. U.S. delegation 15-19 May met with Nigerien officials in capital Niamey to plan formal withdrawal of around 1,000 U.S. military personnel, agreeing to complete manoeuvres by 15 Sept; PM Zeine 14 May stated lack of U.S. military support in combating jihadists had led to severed security ties but also welcomed engagement with U.S. on economic investments. Meanwhile, EU 27 May announced military mission would end 30 June but Germany 29 May announced temporary deal allowing its troops to remain at air transport base outside Niamey while new agreement on presence negotiated.

Row with Benin prompted Chinese mediation and threatened oil exports. Amid continued dispute as govt maintained closure of border with Benin, Beninese authorities 6 May announced they would prevent Niger using its port to export crude oil through March inaugurated 2,000km-long Niger-Benin pipeline. PM Zeine 11 May announced border would remain closed for supposed security reasons. However, following mediation efforts by China – whose state oil company owns shares in Niger’s oil – Beninese President Patrice Talon 15 May reversed decision to block exports and agreed to hold dialogue with govt, although 27-28 May dialogue attempt in Niamey faltered. Meanwhile, Foreign Ministers of Alliance of Sahel States (AES) 17 May convened in Nigerien capital Niamey to finalise alliance documents; AES 20 May began joint military exercises alongside Chadian and Togolese troops in west. 

Jihadists conducted attacks in Diffa and Tillabery regions. In Diffa (south east), military 1 May clashed with militants likely from Boko Haram JAS faction near N’Guigmi town, killing three jihadists. In Tillabery (south west), hundreds of al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 20 May attacked Boni military post, as govt reported seven soldiers killed, while Islamic State Sahel Province (IS Sahel) same day allegedly killed around twenty civilians in Diambala village.

In another important development. State court decision on immunity of former President Bazoum originally scheduled for 10 May delayed to 7 June. 

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In The News

1 maj 2024
Western powers have enjoyed quite a bit of leeway in how they influenced and meddled in local affairs [in Niger]. Al Jazeera

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

Deputy Project Director, Sahel
26 sep 2023
[The coup in Niger marks] the beginning of the end of a sequence of French troops withdrawing from the central Sahel. The Guardian

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Project Director, Sahel
17 aug 2023
If an ECOWAS invasion [of Niger] happened, and there was a regional war, I think that would really put the [U.S.] Defense Department in a tricky position. Responsible Statecraft

Sarah Harrison

Senior Analyst, U.S. Program

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