MS Risk Blog

Security Advisory Armed Militants Kill at least 7 in Southeastern Niger (22 November 2018)    

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Armed men killed at least seven people Thursday 22 November in an attack that targeted French drilling company Foraco’s water well site in southeastern Niger.

According to officials, during the early morning hours of Thursday 22 November at least seven people were killed in Toumour, southeastern Niger.  Sources have reported that an undisclosed number of militants arrived on horseback and attacked the group in the enclosure of the town hall of Toumour, where they were installed.  Amongst the victims are six company employees, believed to be Nigeriens, and one civil servant.  An official has reported that “the controller, a civil servant agent, was kidnapped before having his throat slit not far from the site.”  A company source is reporting that the company had an escort of about fifteen guards but they were absent at the time of the attack, though this has not been confirmed.  Security sources have indicating that they believe Nigerian-based terror group Boko Haram is behind the attack, though this has also not been confirmed.  So far the terror group has not commented or made any claims pertaining to the attack, though Boko Haram is active in the Diffa region near the border with Nigeria and has in the past targeted foreigners and NGO’s operating in this area.

Since 2009, Boko Haram has been trying to establish an Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria, and in recent years, it has launched repeated attacks into neighboring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.  Thousands of civilians have died in the violence in both Nigeria and in the affected neighboring states.  The village of Toumour has hosted several hundred Nigerian refugees who have fled the ongoing fighting in northeastern Nigeria and in the past, Boko Haram has targeted displaced persons camps.  The French company was apparently working in this area to increase water capacities in the region.  This attack may have also specifically targeted a French company because of France’s ongoing intervention in Mali.

MS Risk continues to advise against all travel to the following regions of Niger:

MS Risk advises against all but essential travel to the rest of the country, including the capital city Niamey.

A state of emergency is currently in place for the Diffa region, as well as in seven departments of the Tillabéri and Tahoua regions bordering Mali.  As a result of safety and security concerns, many organizations, including foreign companies, NGOs and private aid organizations have suspended operations in Niger or withdrawn family members and/or staff members.

Terrorists are very likely to carry out attacks in Niger, including kidnappings.  There is a threat of retaliatory attacks in Niger due to the country’s participation in the French-led intervention in Mali and due to Niger’s involvement in the regional fight to counter Boko Haram.