Foreign travel advice

Niger

Terrorism

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Niger. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. There’s a threat of retaliatory attacks in Niger due to its participation in the French-led intervention in Mali and due to Niger’s involvement in the regional fight to counter Boko Haram. You should monitor developments, be alert to announcements and remain vigilant at all times.

As seen in Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, terrorist groups continue to mount attacks on hotels, cafés and restaurants visited by foreigners. Be especially vigilant in these places.

The government declared a state of emergency on 03 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 attacks in Niger in 2017, particularly in the Diffa and Tillabéri regions. Recent attacks have included:

  • 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organisations, including foreign companies, NGOs, and private aid organisations have suspended operations in Niger or withdrawn family members and / or staff.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 on 30 October

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. On October 14 2016, an aid worker was kidnapped in Abalak, a province of the region of Tahoua 350 km northeast of Niamey. There are reports that terrorist groups may be targeting international humanitarian workers in Diffa province for kidnapping.

Criminal gangs have previously carried out kidnapping for terrorist groups in return for financial rewards. There are currently several westerners being held in the Sahel and surrounding region. Victims in the region have included tourists, NGO workers and diplomats of a variety of nationalities, primarily European. These attacks have sometimes resulted in the murder of the hostage.

Kidnapping for ransom is Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) and its associated groups primary source of finance. Further kidnap attacks are likely. Terrorist groups view those engaged in humanitarian aid work or journalism as legitimate targets. There are reports that terrorist groups may be targeting international humanitarian workers in Diffa province for kidnapping. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence in country is unlikely to serve as protection.

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.

There’s considered to be 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. You should be vigilant at this time.

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.