CrisisWatch Niger

Unchanged Situation

Tensions with Benin remained high, while armed groups supporting deposed President Bazoum launched attacks; govt continued reorganising foreign alliances.

Diplomatic standoff with Benin continued with arrest of Nigerien oil workers. Authorities during month persisted with refusal to reopen land border with Benin, while oil exports through shared pipeline continued to face blockages from both govts. Amid tensions, Beninese authorities 5 June arrested five Nigerien nationals working for Chinese-Nigerien operator of pipeline (WAPCo), alleging they fraudulently attempted to access oil terminal and accusing them of spying. Niamey next day blocked oil exports in protest and 8 June reiterated allegations French forces in northern Benin were training “terrorists” to destabilise Niger. After Cotonou 17 June gave three of the detainees 18-month suspended sentence, two former Beninese presidents 25 June travelled to Niger in attempt to ease tensions, though oil exports remained on hold (see Benin). 

Supporters of former president Bazoum launched attacks. Patriotic Liberation Front, pro-Bazoum armed group, 12 and 16 June attacked Niger-Benin pipeline in Dosso region, killing six soldiers in first attack and reportedly putting it out of commission in second; another group supporting Bazoum, Patriotic Front for Justice, 21 June kidnapped regional official and four others, reportedly killing another, in Bilma city, Agadez region; both groups called on China to cancel oil exports until Bazoum freed. Meanwhile, supreme court 14 June lifted Bazoum’s immunity in treason case.

Jihadist violence persisted in Diffa and Tillabery regions. In Diffa, military 11 June reportedly clashed with Boko Haram near Bagara village, six militants killed. In Tillabery, Islamic State Sahel Province 9 June killed 24 civilians in two attacks in Tera department, while militants likely affiliated with al-Qaeda 25 June killed at least 20 soldiers and one civilian near Tassia village.

Govt continued military and international realignment. Russian Deputy Defence Minister 3 June met President Gen. Tiani and PM Zeine to discuss defence and energy cooperation. Withdrawal of U.S. troops formally began 7 June, to be completed by 15 Sept. Meanwhile, authorities 2o June revoked French company Orano’s operating permit for uranium mine.

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In The News

1 Μάιος 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 Σεπ 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 Αυγ 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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