Over 60 Killed In Niger Military Camp Attack

 

 

Jihadists attacked a Niger military camp near the border with Mali with artillery and mortars, killing more than 60 people, a security source said on Wednesday.

Tuesday’s attack in Inates in the western Tillaberi region was the deadliest on Niger’s military since the armed forces began fighting Islamist militants in 2015.

“The attack killed more than 60,” the source said. “The terrorists bombarded the camp with shelling and mortars. The explosions from ammunition and fuel were the cause of the heavy toll.”

The source did not say which group was responsible for the deadly assault.

READ ALSO: Woman Killed, 73 Injured In US Military Base Attack

Niger forces are fighting against Boko Haram militants in the southeast border with Nigeria and jihadists allied with the Islamic State in the west near Mali and Libya.

Three soldiers and 14 militants were also killed on Monday in an attack on another army post in Agando in the western Tahoua region, the defence ministry said.

Heavily armed “terrorists” in a dozen 4×4 vehicles led the attack early Monday morning on the military post in Tahoua, the ministry statement said.

Niger is part of a five-nation anti-jihadist task force known as the G5, set up in 2014 with Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Chad.

Thousands of civilians and soldiers have died in violence across the vast region, known as the Sahel, which began when armed Islamists revolted in northern Mali in 2012.

West Africa’s Fulani Nomads Fight Climate Change To Survive

A Fulani herdsman guides cattle in the area surrounding Bermo, on June 27, 2019.MARCO LONGARI / AFP

 

 

They are one of the last great nomadic peoples of the planet, a community of some 35 million people scattered across 15 countries in West Africa, from the dusty Sahel down to the lush rainforests.

The Fulani are pastoral herders who migrate with their cattle, following the pendulum swing of the seasons.

But their age-old way of life is under threat.

Booming populations have intensified conflicts for land, religious extremism has shattered social bonds and climate change is driving them on an ever more desperate search for pasture.

While they are well used to the extreme conditions of this often inhospitable region, today they face threats from longer and more severe droughts to greater rain and flooding.

Niger, a country in which more than 80 percent of the population lives off agriculture, is at the forefront of the climate emergency.

The Fulanis there have seen their herds decimated by droughts and hunger in recent decades — and this decline is gaining speed.

Every year an area of over 1,000 square kilometers (380 square miles) is lost to the spreading desert and soil erosion.

The sixth poorest nation in the world also has the highest birth rates with women on average bearing seven children.

This fuels a vicious spiral that has seen demographic pressures and the struggle for resources intensify competition with farmers for land.

Many Fulani have had to abandon herding and settle down in towns in a bid to feed their families.

They have become security guards or petty traders as huge numbers of people have flowed to Niamey and other capitals in West Africa.

It is no surprise in this context that community elders speak of a “curse”.

Cows represent far more to the Fulanis than just a source of revenue: they are a symbol of freedom and a way of life to be defended ferociously.

Niamey Residents Flee After The Worst Floods In 50 Years

A barefoot child walks past tents on September 11, 2019 in the makeshift camp of Saguia near the capital Niamey after the Niger river floods forced inhabitants out of the area.  BOUREIMA HAMA / AFP

 

“At last, we’re here!” Amina and Halima, who live in Niger’s capital Niamey, exulted after reaching high ground following the worst floods to hit the city in 50 years.

Two weeks ago, authorities in Niamey declared a red alert when the waters of the Niger river — the third biggest in Africa — rose to a level “not seen in more than 50 years”.

The floods have affected more than 6,300 people in the traditionally dusty city.

Nearly 60 have been killed and 130,000 displaced across the nation this rainy season, officials say.

Amina and Halima are among those who have been evacuated to tent shelters at Saguia in the highlands overlooking Niamey.

The women travelled in a van, but officials have been chartering all kinds of transport to move people in trouble, while others hire taxis, ride motorbikes and even walk.

Saguia is a patch of land owned by the army and usually off limits to the public.

In 2012, it was used to house about 400 soldiers from neighbouring Mali who had fled an offensive by Tuareg rebels.

For access to the site, people need “tickets” that are distributed in schools serving as transit centres for flood victims, according to the armed paramilitary police checking new arrivals.

The heights give a panoramic view of the homes and rice paddies largely submerged by the water.

 ‘Surprised in our sleep’ 

Inside the camp, the fire brigade and municipal employees have put up dozens of white tents supplied by the Red Cross and the United Nations.

“When people arrive here, they are installed in tents (…) and we have enough food for them all,” Niamey governor Issaka Assane Karanta told AFP.

A generator and a fresh-water well have both been repaired, lamp posts will soon be installed and a medical centre is open “for the treatment of emergency cases”, the governor said.

Some 122 households, comprising 854 people, have been allocated tents and the site can take in a total of 1,200 flood victims, he added.

“They gave us rice, millet, mosquito nets, blankets and drinking water,” said Aissa Salifou, putting on makeup in her tent, her head and shoulders covered in a broad veil.

“The water surprised us in our sleep,” added the woman from one of Niamey’s hardest-hit districts, Kirkissoye. “We had to demolish the walls in neighbouring houses to scramble out.”

“We live on the low ground where we were trapped by the water, but this place is spacious, well-aired and above all safe,” said Fatouma Boubacar, another Kirkissoye resident, watching her cooking pot on the fire.

 ‘I was lucky’ 

Though Boubacar arrived only two days earlier, she has resumed her customary job, selling vegetables.

“I was lucky,” said Ramatou Abdou, reclining in an armchair with a toothpick stuck between her teeth.

“I barely got out of the house before the roof fell in. I’m expecting my first baby in a month and I shall call it Saguia.”

In the shade of a huge tree, a dozen new arrivals awaited the completion of their shelters before moving in.

Barefoot children meanwhile made up football teams and chased a rag ball on a makeshift pitch in the baking heat.

On the far side of the camp, a policeman with a gun slung over his shoulder watched over a bunch of children carrying plates and queuing for a hot meal provided by an NGO.

“We’re trying to live here and waiting to see what Allah has in store for us,” Boubacar said.

The level of the Niger has fallen slightly after bursting its banks, but governor Karanta is urging people from affected areas to be watchful and “to keep well away from the bed of the river”.

Upstream in Mali, technicians have opened floodgates on a major dam and the extra water is “slowly but surely” flowing down to Niger, Karanta said.

AFP

 

Nigeria, Benin Sign Landmark African Trade Accord At African Union Summit

 

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and his Beninois counterpart, Patrice Talon, have signed a landmark African trade pact at the African Union (AU) Summit, in Niger on Sunday.

Both Presidents signed the agreement to applause at the summit in Niamey, the Nigerien capital, where the zone will officially be launched.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to be officially launched later Sunday in what AU commission chairman Moussa Faki said would be a “historic” moment.

Fifty-four of the 55 African Union member countries signed onto the deal, with Eritrea the only holdout.

AU leaders hope the agreement, which comes after 17 years of tough negotiations, will create the world’s largest free trade area, estimating a 60-percent boost in trade between the continent’s 1.2 billion people by 2022.

The deal was given a boost when Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, announced this week it would join the pact in Niamey, after having unexpectedly pulled back from the agreement last year.

The pact was further buoyed as Benin’s agreement meant Eritrea was the sole African country not to sign on.

State trade ministers have agreed the zone should be operational from July 2020, AU Trade and Industry Commissioner Albert Muchanga told AFP, with countries needing time to adapt to the agreed changes.

An official start date was expected to be agreed by heads of state on Sunday.

With the launch of the AfCFTA, Africa was “removing the fragmentation of Africa” Muchanga said.

However there are still key issues that need to be ironed out, such as setting common criteria to determine rules of origin for traded products.

Amaka Anku, Africa analyst at Eurasia group, described the deal as a positive step but said the AfCFTA was still “a long way from taking off”.

African countries currently trade only about 16 percent of their goods and services among one another, compared to 65 percent with European countries.

Below are photos from the ceremony where the trade deal was signed.

READ ALSO: African Leaders Set To Sign Landmark Trade Deal At AU Summit

 

Buhari Arrives Niamey For ECOWAS Meeting

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived Niamey, the Republic of Niger to participate in a meeting on common currency for the West African sub-region.

The President left Nigeria this morning to attend the meeting which is planned to have in attendance other ECOWAS Task Force Common Currency member countries and he is currently in the meeting.

The special adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina has earlier disclosed in a statement on Monday that “the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, will also join the President at the meeting.”

Member countries of the ECOWAS Task Force on Common Currency are ‎Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Niger.

 

Buhari To Attend ECOWAS Meeting In Niamey

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday, October 24, depart for Niamey, Republic of Niger.

The special adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina in a statement on Monday said to Buhari will during his stay in Niamey “participate in a meeting on common currency for the West African sub-region.”

Member countries of the ECOWAS Task Force on Common Currency are ‎Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Niger.

Adesina also said that “the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, will also join the President at the meeting.”

The presidential adviser said President Buhari will return to Abuja same day after the meeting.

FG Deploys Relief Materials To Nigerian Refugees In Niger Republic

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has deployed relief assistance to displaced Nigerians that fled into the nearby Republic of Niger to provide them with immediate succor.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Press and Public Realtions Officer of the agency, Mr Manzo Ezekiel.

NEMA had last week said that only 126 Nigerians had fled across to the Republic of Niger. The Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani Sidi confirmed that the Agency is responding to the humanitarian needs of the displaced Nigerians to alleviate their conditions.

He said the basic needs of the refugees were identified by a special assessment carried out by a team of the Agency that was dispatched to the Republic of Niger country to ascertain the conditions of Nigerians that had crossed over the border into the country. The assessment was carried out along with officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Niamey, Nigerien authorities and resident representatives of United Nations OCHA, UNHCR and the Red Cross.

The DG NEMA noted that the relief intervention will also ease the pressure brought on local resources of the host communities by the refugees. Most of the refugees, he said were found to be in Bosso and its environs in the Diffa Region of the Republic of Niger.

The DG NEMA reiterated the commitment of the Agency to provide necessary supports to Nigerians in distress within and outside the country.

The relief materials deployed to Niger Republic are made up of food, non-food items and medicals.