CrisisWatch Niger

Unchanged Situation

Govt severed military accords with U.S. and moved closer to Sahelian partners; jihadist violence continued.

Niamey distanced itself militarily from Washington. After U.S. diplomatic delegation 12 March visited capital Niamey and met PM Zeine and others, authorities 16 March “denounced with immediate effect” its military accords with Washington; govt accused delegation of disrespect of diplomatic protocol and intention to limit Niamey’s sovereignty in choice of international partners; uncertainty grew over whether 1,000 U.S. military personnel, many based at Agadez military base, will remain in country; govt and U.S. ambassador 27 March discussed future plan for “disengagement” of U.S. forces. Earlier, Alliance of Sahelian States 6 March announced creation of joint counterterrorism force to combat regional jihadist insurgency and address shared security needs.

Jihadist-related violence persisted in Tillabery. In Tillabery region (south west), Islamic State Sahel Province militants 3 March attacked convoy of trucks near Koutougou Haoussa village, killing around seven people and burning seven vehicles; militants 19 March ambushed military position near Teguey town killing 23 soldiers and wounding seventeen, with some 30 assailants killed. In Diffa region (south east), military 13 March killed ten alleged Islamic State West Africa Province militants in airstrike near Assaga village.

In important regional developments. After West African regional bloc ECOWAS lifted sanctions on govt in Feb, land borders between Niger and Nigeria re-opened 22 March; border with Benin, however, remained closed, although 2,000km-long Niger-Benin pipeline began transporting crude oil from Niger’s Agadem field to Benin in early March.

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In The News

26 Set 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 Ago 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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