Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Niger, including in Niamey, in retaliation to Niger’s participation in the French-led intervention in Mali and the country’s involvement in the regional fight to counter Boko Haram. Attacks could be indiscriminate. You should be especially vigilant in places frequented by Westerners such as hotels, restaurants, places of worship, and businesses with Western interests. You should monitor developments, be alert to announcements and remain vigilant at all times.
The government declared a state of emergency on 3 March 2017 in Diffa region, in Ouallam, Ayorou, Bankilare, Abala and Banibongou (Tillabéri region) and Tassara and Tillia (Tahoua region).This was in response to an escalation in terrorist attacks, especially in the Tillabéri region.
There have been multiple recent attacks in Niger, particularly in the Diffa and Tillabéri regions. Recent attacks have included:
- on 4 June 2018 3 suicide bombers killed at least 9 people during attacks in Diffa city.
- on 21 October 2017 gunmen attacked a police post in Ayourou, Tillabéri region killing 13 Nigerien gendarmes and wounding five.
- on 4 October 2017 terrorists attacked a military patrol in Tongo Tongo, Tillaberi region, killing four US and five Nigerien soldiers
- on 2 July 2017 Boko Haram insurgents killed 9 and abducted over 30 people in Ngalawa, Diffa region
- on 28 June 2017 two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a UN camp in Kabelawa, Diffa
As a result of safety and security concerns, some organisations, including foreign companies, NGOs, and private aid organisations have suspended operations in Niger or withdrawn family members and / or staff.
The US Embassy in Niger issued a travel warning in October 2017.
The government of Nigeria has declared a state of emergency in its northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Borno and Yobe border southern Niger.
There’s a high threat of kidnapping from terrorist groups operating in the region including Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) and Boko Haram. These groups operate in the border areas of northern Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Algeria and Libya. They have proven capability of travelling long distances to carry out attacks.
Westerners have been kidnapped in Niger and the wider Sahel region, including in Niamey and the north and west of Niger. An aid worker was kidnapped in the Tillaberi region of Niger in April 2018. In October 2016, an aid worker was kidnapped in Abalak, 350 km northeast of Niamey. There are reports that terrorist groups may be targeting international humanitarian workers in Diffa province for kidnapping.
If you’re working or travelling in Niger, you should be aware of the risk of terrorist kidnapping. You should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, including when travelling, in crowded public places, including camps for displaced people, religious gatherings and insecure spaces like places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants and transport hubs. You should make sure you have carefully considered the threat and have reasonable, proportionate mitigation measures in place.
The terrorist threat in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin
There is a very high threat of kidnapping by terrorist groups operating in the Sahel region. A number of western nationals including tourists, NGO workers and diplomats have been kidnapped in the Sahel over the last ten years, and several are still being held. Some, including several British nationals, have been killed by their captors. Those engaged in humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors are viewed as legitimate targets. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.
There are a number of terrorist groups active in the region. These include Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), Islamic State Greater Sahara (ISGS), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Murabitoun, Ansar Dine and Boko Haram. These groups are capable of carrying out attacks and kidnaps over long distances. Kidnapping for ransom is the primary source of finance for Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM). Criminal gangs also carry out kidnapping for terrorist groups in return for financial rewards.
Read more about the threat from terrorism in the Sahel region.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.