Tag Archives: Niger

Niger: Borrell on defeating terrorism

Brussels 23.03.2021 “A few days after the attack on Banibangou, Niger is grieved by another massacre in the Tahoua region” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell tweeted, reacting upon the recent events in the Sahel region.
(Picture above: illustration).

“In one week, more than 200 civilians were victims of the indiscriminate and borderless violence of terrorist groups”.
“Nigeriens have not been intimidated by the various attacks that have marked these past weeks. On the contrary, they have completed a historic democratic process which constitutes a decisive stage for the consolidation of democracy in their country. They can count on the European Union to continue to lead with them the fight which will bring back security and stability to their country”, Borrell continued.

“By perpetrating these attacks against defenseless civilians, terrorists strengthen our resolve to confront them” the European diplomat concluded.

At least 137 Nigerien civilians were killed on Sunday, March 21, in an attack on several localities near the Malian border, the Nigerien government said in a statement late Monday.

“In the afternoon of Sunday March 21, 2021 at around 1 p.m. (1200GMT), the localities of Intazayane, Bakorat, Wirsnat and several other hamlets and camps located in the department of Tillia, Tahoua region, witnessed an attack perpetrated by armed bandits,” said the statement read on national TV by government spokesperson Abdourahamane Zakaria.

At least 137 people were killed and several others were injured, Zakaria said, adding that “reinforced security and health measures have been taken in the area and an investigation has been opened”.

The spokesperson also announced a three-day national mourning to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks.

It is the second deadly attack on Nigerien civilians in a week. On March 15, unidentified gunmen attacked and killed at least 58 civilians returning from a weekly market in the Banibangou department, Tillaberi region, near the Malian border, according to Zakaria.

Niger’s Tillaberi and Tahoua regions, bordering northern Mali, have been facing recurrent armed attacks since 2017 attributed to terrorist groups operating in northern Mali. As a result of these attacks, the entire Tillaberi region and part of Tahoua were placed under a state of emergency.

Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali in the Sahel are at the epicenter of one of the world’s fastest-growing displacement and protection crises.

The region hosts 851,000 refugees and nearly 2 million displaced people, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

In January, around 100 people were killed in attacks in two Tillaberi villages after the first round of presidential elections.

EU condemns Niger attacks

Brussels 17.03.2021 “The EU condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack on March 15 that killed more than 58 civilians in Banibangou in #Niger. In this historic electoral period, the EU calls for social cohesion and reaffirms its commitment to Nigeriens. #AUEU” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

At least 58 people have been killed in Niger after attacks near the border with Mali, according to the government announcement.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on four vehicles that were bringing people back from a market in the Tillabéri region. No group has claimed the attacks, which happened on Monday, March 15.
However, at present there are two jihadist campaigns in Niger – one in the west near Mali and Burkina Faso, and another in the south-east on the border with Nigeria.

In a statement read out on public television, the Niger government said that “groups of armed, still unidentified individuals intercepted four vehicles carrying passengers back from the weekly market of Banibangou to the villages of Chinedogar and Darey-Daye”.

“The toll from these barbarous acts [is] 58 dead, one injured, a number of grain silos and two vehicles burned, and two more vehicles seized” the statement concluded.

Niger elections protests

The Republic of the Niger national electoral commission on Tuesday, February 23, declared ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum the winner of the February 21 runoff election with 55.75% of the vote, but his rival, Mahamane Ousmane, a former president, has alleged fraud and claimed he won with 50.3%. The incumbent President Mahamadou Issoufou is stepping down after two five-year terms.

The supporters of the losing candidate refused to accept the failure, and turned to violence, setting several buildings ablaze, burning tyres and threw rocks at the police on , as the authorities announced that two people had been killed in post-election protests this week.

Since then, two people have been killed and 468 detained during protests by Ousmane’s supporters in the capital Niamey, Interior Minister Alkache Alhada said.

“They want to wreak havoc,” Alhada said at a news conference, blaming opposition leader Hama Amadou for the violence.

There was no immediate response from Amadou, who finished runner-up in the 2016 election. He was barred from running this time because of a criminal conviction and threw his support behind Ousmane.

The election is meant to lead to the first transition from one democratically elected leader to another following four coups since independence from France in 1960.

On Thursday, February 25, small groups of Ousmane supporters took to the streets again to lob rocks at police and national guard troops, who responded by firing tear gas. Internet access has also been severely limited since Wednesday, February 24.

SAHEL: EU mobilises €238M

Brussels 09.10.2020 This Monday, November 9, 2020, the Mauritanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Mauritanians Abroad, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, co-chaired with the High Representative, Josep Borrell, the 6th G5 ministerial meeting Sahel-EU.

Two points were on the agenda of the discussions: the follow-up to the commitments made since the meeting between the leaders of the European Union and the Heads of State of the G5 Sahel of April 28, 2020 within the framework of the Coalition for the Sahel ; and an exchange on the new Sahel strategy of the European Union.

On the first point, the two parties welcomed the European Union’s commitment beyond the additional 194 million euros announced in April, in support of the security-development nexus: in total, nearly 238 million euros have already been mobilised for projects in the field of stabilisation of the most vulnerable regions (security and resilience). The two parties also recalled that the European mission to support the Malian defence forces (EUTM Mali) can now gradually expand its training in Burkina Faso and also in Niger. The establishment of the P3S secretariat by the EU should allow increased and coordinated support to the security and stability capacity of the G5 countries.

The G5 Sahel Ministers reaffirmed the determination of their Governments to pursue their efforts in the fields of security and development, in particular with regard to the delivery of basic services to the populations and respect for human rights and of international humanitarian law by the security and defense forces. The continuation of the ongoing investigations into the suspected cases of abuse is fundamental in this context.

With regard to the fight against Covid-19, the European Union, in Team Europe format, recalled the actions taken to redirect 449 million euros to provide medical equipment, finance awareness campaigns, and accelerate budget support disbursements to address the economic and social consequences of the pandemic. A total of 92 million euros will be disbursed today for Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger, to support the implementation of plans to respond to the pandemic, without worsening debt levels .

Underlining the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the already fragile balances existing in the Sahel, the Foreign Ministers of the G5 Sahel once again called for a total cancellation of the debt of the G5 Sahel countries and for the mobilisation of resources financial resources to help restart the economies of the Sahel. The two sides agreed to continue international efforts to reduce debt and access international sources of finance in a coordinated manner within the relevant multilateral frameworks.

Insisting on the need to find lasting solutions to the crisis, the EU and the G5 welcomed the organization of a conference on the central Sahel on October 20, during which the EU announced an additional contribution of 43 million euros, to help the more than 13 million people in need of humanitarian aid in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

On the second point, the meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss the ongoing review of the European Union’s Sahel strategy. The EU top diplomat underlined that the European Union would remain one of the main partners of the G5 Sahel States but that this partnership will henceforth be more demanding, the contribution of the European Union, however important it may be, only support the strong political will of the G5 Sahel States. From this perspective, the focus will be more on achieving results and implementing reforms aimed at strengthening governance.

The Foreign Ministers of the G5 Sahel welcomed the continued European engagement in the Sahel. The Ministers hoped that European and international support would come in support of local initiatives and in a coordinated manner between the various partners. As such, they are delighted to see the European Union involving them in the review of its Sahel strategy.

In conclusion, the High Representative and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the G5 Sahel welcomed the holding of the next meeting between the Heads of State of the G5 Sahel and the President of the European Council on November 30, 2020.

EU increases support to Sahel

Brussels 20.10.2020 Today, the European Union, Denmark and Germany and the United Nations co-host a virtual Ministerial Roundtable on Africa’s Central Sahel region, with the participation of donors and international organisations, as well as the countries concerned: Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The event will discuss longer-term perspectives for countries in the region to overcome the spiral of violence and humanitarian crises they are currently facing. It also aims at mobilising support for the region, especially as coronavirus pandemic increases humanitarian needs.

Representing the EU at the event, Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, will pledge a total of €43.6 million on behalf of the EU to the three countries in the Central Sahel region for the rest of 2020.

“Throughout recent years, the EU has been particularly committed to the Sahel and international support provided has been significant. Yet, the security, social and humanitarian situation in Central Sahel is only deteriorating. In face of this dramatically worsening situation, together – the international community and the governments concerned – we must do better, more and act fast. Only by addressing the deep-rooted causes can we succeed in providing a better life to the people caught in the crises afflicting the region” Lenarčič said.

“Today’s conference is a very clear sign of our solidarity towards the Sahel region and its people. Our €20 million support to the World Food Programme will help the most vulnerable in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, and especially pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children. We hope to assist 65,000 people next year with this project. If we all join forces along the peace-development-humanitarian nexus and our partner countries take responsibility for improving governance and reforms, I am convinced that we can make a difference for the people in the Sahel. Team Europe will keep on supporting the people of Sahel” Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships said.

The EU’s pledge consists of: €23.6 million in funding for humanitarian actions in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
€20 million in development funding to address the food crisis afflicting the Central Sahel region, in cooperation with the World Food Programme.
Overall, EU and the EU Member States have mobilised around €8 billion since 2014 to help stabilise the Sahel region.

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are at the core of one of the world’s fastest growing humanitarian crises created by a combination of conflict, climatic changes and poverty. It is estimated that a staggering 13.4 million people across the Central Sahel are in need of humanitarian assistance.

In 2020, the EU has mobilised a total €84.6 million in humanitarian assistance for Central Sahel countries, including the amount that will be pledged today. In June 2020, the EU also organised two EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to Burkina Faso, carrying 26 tonnes of humanitarian supplies and equipment needed for the coronavirus response in the country.

Since 2014, the EU has invested more than €3.4 billion in development cooperation for the three Central Sahel countries Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with the objective to strengthen the capacities of the state in the long term, while providing a short and medium-term response to the needs of the most vulnerable population. The investments covered a broad range of areas: from security; good governance; transparency; public finance; the respect of human rights to basic social services (education, food security and health).

France reinforces protection in Sahel

France will step up security measures to protect the countriy’s nationals in Africa’s Sahel region, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday, August 11, two days after six French aid workers and there two local guides were shot dead in Niger, while touring in natural park Kouré.

“We will do everything we can to support the families of the victims and to respond to the attack that cost the lives of six of our compatriots and two Nigeriens. These six young people, who were members of the NGO ‘ACTED’, showed extraordinary commitment to the local population,” Macron wrote on his Tweeted microblog.

“I have decided to step up security measures for our citizens in the region. We will continue in our action to eradicate the terrorist groups, with the increased support of our partners.”

The unidentified gunmen on motobyces have attacked a group of French aid workers in Niger, killing six French citizens, their local guide from natural park and driver, officials say.
The gunmen arrived on motorcycles and opened fire, the governor of Tillabéri region, Tidjani Ibrahim, said to Agence France Press.

They were in the Kouré region, which famous among tourists for rear herds of giraffe in West Africa.

The French presidency confirmed the deaths of the French citizens, after the post mortem expertice of their bodies undertaken in military base in Niger.

The French nationals worked for an international aid group, and went on Sunday for a tour to the giraffe park Kouré were they were attacked and killed, their vehicle burt.

ACTED, a French humanitarian NGO, confirmed its staff members were killed in this random attack in Niger, in the aread considered to be not dangerous for toursim.

President Emmanuel Macron spoke on the phone with his Niger counterpart Mahamadou Issoufou on Sunday, a statement said, ensureing cooperation of both countris in defeating terrorsim in Sahel.

In photos which were not released for the ethical reasons, the victims’ bodies were found lying on a road by the side of their vechile. There were no survives. All victims were young people from 26 to 35 years old, idealists, devoted to the cause of development of Niger.

This random attack in Kouré parc caused considerable damage to local community living from tourism to giraffe parc, which has been considered as one of safe areas, just one hour drive from the captial. The group was killed in the morning hours between around 11 AM.

Niger: counter-terrorist operation in Kouré

French President Emmanuel Macron will convene a defense council on Tuesday, August 11 following Sunday’s attack in Niger that left eight people dead, including six French nationals, the Elysee said.

In a statement released overnight Sunday to Monday, the French presidency said Emmanuel Macron had spoken with his Nigerien counterpart, Mahamadou Issoufou.

The two leaders “wish to recall that all means are and will be implemented to elucidate the circumstances of this murderous attack in the coming hours”, writes L’Elysée.

A defense council will be held on Tuesday morning “under the authority of the President of the Republic and on the basis of information which will be transmitted this Monday by the Nigerien and French authorities”, she added in the press release.

The national anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office (Pnat) announced on August 10 that it had opened an investigation for “assassinations in connection with a terrorist enterprise” and “terrorist criminal association” after the attack which left eight dead, including six French.

Reportedly there were four men and four women in the vehicle, who left for national reserve tour.

They were between 25 and 35 years old and died in the attack on the Kouré reserve on Sunday. Most of them highly educated, these four women and two men, who worked for the NGO Acted, all dreamed of a better and united world.

https://twitter.com/hmpafrica/status/1292946217719275520?s=21

Nigerian and French military, engaged in Barkahne mission in Sahel has started a counter-terrorist operation immediately in the afthermath of the attack in narutal park Kouré . A patrol of 2 Mirage 2000D was engaged in the area to search for the perpetrators. This “at the request of the Nigerien Armed Forces” states a statement from the military staff. This aerial patrol was then relayed by a drone.

A team of criminal identification technicians from Gao (Mali) was also pre-positioned on the Niamey BAP – planned air base – before being deployed to the area on Monday August 10 morning as part of ‘a mission of assistance to local police forces.

Image above: illustraiton

Niger attack defined «terrorism»

Six aid workers and their two guides were killed by armed men in a deadly attack in Niger, during excursion to natural park. French charity ACTED confirmed their deaths in random attack on the vehicle on Sunday, August 9.

The French government called it a terrorist attack, though no group has yet claimed responsibility.

Unidentified gunmen attacked the group in the Kouré region, around 50 kilometers from the capital Niamey.

The victims, who are both French and Niger nationals from ACTED and IMPACT aid organizations, were “senselessly and cowardly murdered”, according to ACTED, which did not give additional details about the incident.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Niger President M. Mahamadou Issoufou about the incident the French call “the murderous attack that cowardly targeted a group of humanitarian workers”, according to a statement from the French Presidency on Monday.

The Elysee statement said President Macron has also sent condolences and the nation’s support to the families of victims, it has also underlined that both the French and Niger presidents are working to clarify the circumstances of the attack.

“Their determination to pursue the fight against terrorists in Sahel remains intact,” the statement said.

French troops and the army in Sahel are fighting to suppress a jihadist insurgency, which has seen army outposts in both countries attacked by militants.

ACTED said aid workers helping with the vulnerable affected by the conflict should not be the target of attacks. The killed Frenchmen where not trourists, but humanitarian aid workers. The slain aid workers spent their Sunday in a natural resort famous for wildlife, and mainly admired for its population of giraffe. The parc is situated near the capital, and has not been considered as dangerous so far.

“This heinous crime must not go unpunished, nor will it distract us from our commitment to support the people of Niger,” the charity said in the statement.

Chinagodrar: 89 military perished in Niger

The death toll from the January 9 attack on Niger army base next to Chinagodrar city has risen to at least 89, four security sources said, surpassing a raid last month in Inates that killed 71 soldiers as the deadliest against Nigerien forces in years.

Commenting on the recent attack the government officials informed that 25 soldiers had been killed, according to a provisional toll, while the troops have been successfully repelling the attack by assailants close to Chinagodrar.

Later four different security sources told Reuters news agency that at least 89 members of Niger’s security forces perished in the attack were buried on January 11 in the capital, Niamey.

One source said the actual death toll was most likely higher because some soldiers were buried immediately in Chinagodrar.

Defense Minister Issoufou Kara be said that an updated death toll would be announced after a national security council meeting on Sunday.

Sahel meeting in Paris postponed

Today at doorstep of the European Council  in Brussels French President Macron announced the a postponement to early 2020 of a meeting of Sahel countries, he said.

I made the decision yesterday with President Issoufou to postpone” the summit “because of the many deaths that Niger unfortunately suffered two days ago,” said Emmanuel Macron on Thursday upon his arrival at the European Council in Brussels.

The decision to postpone the event, which was to address French military presence in the region as well as the fight against terrorsit groups engaged in jihad, follows an attack on a remote military camp in Niger.

Islamist militants killed 71 soldiers in an attack on a military camp located near the border with Mali, an army spokesman said on Wednesday, in the deadliest raid against the Nigerien military in living memory.

AMENDED:

The attack on the the military camp near border with Mali lasted three hours, and claimed lives of 71 soldiers, and forced President Mahamadou Issoufou to shorten his trip to Egypt.

Announced  early December by the French head of state at the end of the NATO summit in London, the African event was aimed to bring together the leaders of the G5 Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad) and clarify the framework of intervention of France in the region.

“It is a need that responds to the observation of growing incomprehension in national public opinion, in the Sahel and in France,” said a source at the Elysée Palace. “You have to be able to come out of this summit with a common expression that recalls why France is there to support.”

Launched in August 2014, Operation Barkhane mobilizes some 4,500 French soldiers against the jihadist groups active in the region, soldiers called to be replaced by G5 Sahel force made up of 5,000 men from the local armies.

But in recent years, the French presence and that of 13,000 Blue Helmets of the MINUSMA  in Mali have been questioned by inhabitants and militants who denounce “occupation forces”.

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