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CrisisWatch Niger

Unchanged Situation

Security forces stepped up counter-insurgency operations in south east and west amid continued jihadist violence; and govt measures to contain COVID-19 outbreak sparked social unrest in urban areas. In Diffa region in south east near Nigeria, security forces in cooperation with regional force MNJTF 2 April launched offensive to dislodge Boko Haram (BH) militants from islands of Lake Chad; number of casualties unknown. In Tillabéry region in west near Mali and Burkina Faso, security forces 2 April reportedly killed 63 Islamist militants in clashes near Tamalaoulaou village; four soldiers also killed. Suspected jihadists 5 April attacked gendarmerie in Banibangou, leaving two gendarmes and two jihadists dead. Govt 23 April denied reports by media and local officials alleging security forces had executed some 100 civilians in Ayorou district, also Tillabéry, 27 March-2 April; same day announced investigation. Amid COVID-19 pandemic, electoral commission 2 April suspended voter registration in Niamey region, sparking concerns pandemic could affect timeframe of presidential and legislative elections planned for Dec. Parliament 11 April extended state of public health emergency by three months until July. Police 17-19 April fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters demonstrating in capital Niamey and second largest city Maradi against COVID-19 curfew and ban on religious gatherings; at least 100 arrested. Govt 22 April relaxed curfew in Niamey. Public prosecutor 7 April said he would open investigation after defence ministry audit late-Feb revealed large-scale embezzlement of public funds involving figures close to President Issoufou. UN mission (MINUSMA) 30 April said Nigerien security forces carried out over 30 extrajudicial killings in Mali 1 Jan-31 March.

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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

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.

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

Report / Africa

Frontière Niger-Mali : mettre l’outil militaire au service d’une approche politique

Le primat donné aux réponses militaires et le recours à des groupes armés à base communautaire pour combattre les mouvements jihadistes implantés dans la zone frontalière entre le Niger et le Mali n’ont fait qu’accentuer les tensions intercommunautaires. Les autorités nigériennes doivent adopter une approche plus politique, incluant réconciliation entre communautés, dialogue avec les militants et amnistie dans certains cas.

Also available in English
Commentary / Africa

The Sahel: Promoting Political alongside Military Action

Rural insurgencies across the Sahel are destabilising the region and undermining local security and governance. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to continue support for the Alliance for the Sahel and promote local dialogue to buttress law and order.

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Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel