Zamfara Governor Bags National Award For Security In Niger Republic

Niger Republic's President, Mohammed Bazoum, presented a national award to the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle on August 3, 2022.
Niger Republic’s President, Mohammed Bazoum, presented a national award to the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle on August 3, 2022.

 

Zamfara State Governor, Bello Mohammed Matawalle on Wednesday was honoured with a national award on security in Niger Republic.

Niger Republic’s President, Mohammed Bazoum, presented the award to the Governor.

The Governor was awarded along with five other Nigerians, including the Jigawa state Governor, Abubakar Badaru, the Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the Chairman of BUA, Alhaji Abdussamd Rabiu, who were honoured on their various contributions to the country. among others

President Bazoum said Governor Matawalle was recognised by the Republic of Niger for his immense contribution towards checking trans-border crimes and terrorism which has helped so much in securing the Country and neighbouring North-Western states of Nigeria.

READ ALSO: FG Confirms Purchase of N1.4 billion Worth Of Vehicles For Niger Republic

“It was emphatically noted that Governor Bello Mohammed is the first Governor in Nigeria who expressed his worry to the Nigerien Government over the free flow of weapons trafficking through that Country into the North-Western states of Nigeria, including Zamfara,” a statement signed by spokesperson to the Governor, Zailani Bappa, said.

“Governor Matawalle was equally the Governor who practically demonstrated and translated his concern to action by, not only paying several visits to Niger to share intelligence support, but also donated five brand new Hilux vans to the Country for border patrol.

“Governor Matawalle’s special efforts assisted the Niger Republic to arrest more than 40 notorious arms and ammunition dealers inside Niger Republic whose destination of nefarious activities is mostly Nigeria.

“The occasion, which took place at Tillaperi, a town of about 120 km away from the Capital, Niamey, witnessed the attendance of dignitaries from the Niger Republic and a large attendance of well wishers from across the Country.

“Governor Matawalle was supported at the occasion by many of his political associates from Zamfara state and elsewhere from across Nigeria.”

FG Confirms Purchase of N1.4 billion Worth Of Vehicles For Niger Republic

 

The Federal Government has confirmed that it approved the purchase of vehicles worth N1.4 billion for neighboring Niger Republic to tackle insecurity.

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed gave the confirmation on Wednesday, explaining that providing intervention to the neighboring Niger Republic is not new and it is the prerogative of President Muhammadu Buhari who approved the purchase.

According to her, President Buhari, whose actions she cannot question, has the right to make his own assessment of situations and give directives accordingly.

 

She added that the financial support, which is primarily for the purpose of enhancing capacity to protect their territory, based on a request by the Nigerien Government, is also in the best interest of the country.

The minister, who was speaking after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by the President, responded to questions regarding documents released on social media which showed that the president approved the release of the funds on February 22, 2022, for the Niger Republic.

Independent journalist David Hundeyin on Tuesday had posted the photo of a budget office document showing the payment, questioning why the government made the payment.

He asked President Muhammadu Buhari to explain why “scarce” public sector resources were being expended on Niger Republic without it appearing “on official Budget Office documentation.”

The document generated reactions from many Nigerians online.

Seven Police Officers, Four Soldiers Die In Niger Republic Attacks

Niger or the Niger, officially the Republic of the Niger, is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River.
Niger or the Niger, officially the Republic of the Niger, is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River.

 

Seven Niger police officers and four soldiers were killed on Tuesday in two separate attacks near the country’s borders with Burkina Faso and Libya, the government said Wednesday.

Niger’s interior ministry said, “unidentified armed bandits” attacked the Petelkole police station near Burkina Faso in western Niger and a military base in Djado in the country’s desert-covered far north.

Seven police officers died at Petelkole and 10 were injured, with four in a serious condition, the ministry added in a statement, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of jihadist assaults that have long plagued the area.

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Six vehicles — including three belonging to police officers — were torched and the attackers made off with another three vehicles, the ministry said.

The statement added that shops and hangers home to businesses surrounding the police station were also set on fire.

In the second attack in Djado, the ministry said four soldiers died and another was injured, with two vehicles also taken away.

“Security measures have been immediately strengthened in the two areas,” the interior ministry said.

Other sources had earlier said seven police officers had died and another 16 had been injured in the Petelkole attack.

“The provisional toll of this attack is seven police officers dead and sixteen wounded,” said a municipal official who visited the scene of the incident.

A local official had also told AFP that “heavily armed men” arrived “in large numbers” during their assault on the police station.

The Petelkole attackers, believed to be fighters of the Islamic State (IS) group raging in the region, seized three vehicles and torched several others, according to the city official.

The Petelkole attack took place in the Tera district of the Tillaberi region, a vast area on the borders of Burkina Faso and Mali, which is regularly targeted by jihadist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group.

Regional Instability 

On March 16, at least 21 people, including two policemen, were killed in an attack by suspected jihadists on a bus and truck near the same police station, according to an official report.

In October 2021, three Nigerien police officers were killed and several others injured, and in May 2017, two police officers and a civilian were killed in an attack on the same post.

Niger’s vast and sparsely populated Djado region is not a jihadist target but is a corridor for trafficking people, weapons and drugs to Libya and Europe.

The area is also home to gold mines that attract thousands of Nigeriens and nationals from neighbouring countries.

Local authorities have recently denounced the “deterioration of the security situation” on major roads where armed gangs roam.

The huge and unstable region of Tillaberi, around 100,000 square kilometres (39,000 square miles) in size, is located in the so-called “three borders” area between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali and has been the scene of several bloody attacks by jihadist movements since 2017.

Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, in a new approach, has initiated dialogue with jihadist leaders in an attempt to keep the peace.

But the military response continues, with some 12,000 soldiers fighting in a dozen anti-jihadist operations, nearly half of them along the more than 1,400 kilometres of borders with Mali and Burkina Faso.

AFP

Police Rescue 15 Victims Of Human Trafficking In Katsina

Katsina State

 

The Police in Katsina State have succeeded in busting a syndicate of human traffickers on their transit to Libya through the Niger Republic border axis.

In the process of busting the syndicate, 15 trafficked persons consisting of eight females and seven males were rescued by the police at about 03:30hrs on Friday.

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The Police Public Relations Officer of the command, SP Gambo Isah in a press briefing at the command headquarters, Katsina said the traffickers were caught at Baraji Quarters in Daura Local Government Area of the state while conveying the victims.

According to SP Isah, the driver abandoned the victims and ran into the bush upon sighting the police as efforts were ongoing to arrest the fleeing suspects.

In the meantime, the command has repelled terrorists’ attack at Gago village in Dutsinma Local Government Area of the state. In the process, one terrorist was killed and one AK47 rifle was recovered with five rounds of 7.62mm ammunition along with 50 rustled cows.

Niger Republic Makes Record Cocaine Seizure, Arrests Mayor

Seized cocaine is seen on a table at the premises of the Central Office for the Repression of Illicit Drug Trafficking (Octris) in Niamey on January 5, 2022. BOUREIMA HAMA / AFP
Seized cocaine is seen on a table at the premises of the Central Office for the Repression of Illicit Drug Trafficking (Octris) in Niamey on January 5, 2022. BOUREIMA HAMA / AFP

 

Police in Niger said Wednesday they had seized a record 214 kilogrammes (471 pounds) of cocaine in the country’s northern desert and arrested a local mayor and his driver as they allegedly tried to drive to Libya with the haul.

The drug, as well as the two suspects and their vehicle, were brought before the press in Niamey by the Sahel nation’s drug agency OCRTIS after the operation on Sunday.

Police following the trail of a quantity of drugs smuggled in from Mali found 214.6 kilos of cocaine in a municipal car from Fachi, whose mayor was also aboard, OCRTIS spokeswoman Nana Aichatou Ousmane Bako said.

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The car was heading to Dirkou, which lies close to the border with Libya, she said.

“It’s the first time that our country has seized such a big quantity of cocaine,” she said, adding that the drugs’ final destination was Europe, where it had an estimated street value of more than $19 million (nearly 17 million euros).

Fachi is an oasis in the heart of the Tenere desert, located more than 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) from the capital Niamey and 450 kms from Agadez, the biggest town in Niger’s remote desert north.

The main industries in Fachi are trading in salt and dates.

Drug seizures have become frequent in Niger’s north, which has gained a reputation for multiple types of trafficking, including gun-running and migrant smuggling.

AFP

Banditry: Matawalle Meets Niger Republic President Mohamed Bazoum

A photo combination of Matawalle and the Niger Republic President Mohamed Bazoum

 

Governor of Zamfara State, Dr. Bello Matawalle, visited the President of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum, on Monday as part of efforts to end all forms of armed banditry in Nigeria and the Niger Republic.

According to a statement by his spokesman, Jamilu Magaji, the two leaders met at the Presidential Palace, Niamey.

The meeting was meant to discuss issues of insecurity especially in northwest Nigeria and the Niger Republic and resolved to explore more areas of support and cooperation between the Niger Republic and Zamfara State in particular.

Governor Matawalle, who expressed delight to the president of the Niger Republic Mohamed Bazoum for the opportunity given to him and Zamfara State Government to discuss issues of security, especially kidnapping, cattle rustling, and armed banditry in the Maradi region and parts of Zamfara, Katsina, and Sokoto states, briefed President Bazoum on the measures taken by his administration to end all forms of criminal activities in the region.

READ ALSO: Burkina Faso, Niger Republic Say 100 ‘Terrorists’ Killed In Joint Operation

The governor said apart from the peace initiative and reconciliation process he started, his administration has provided intelligence to security agents on how best to trace informants who provide information to the armed bandits and their collaborators.

He explained that his administration has placed CCTV cameras that will monitor the activities and movements of people in the state capital with the aim of tracking and tracing criminal hideouts and their nefarious activities.

Matawalle also said his administration will donate five brand new Hilux vehicles to the Government of Niger Republic to provide special border patrol at Maradi and other parts of Niger Republic which share border with Zamfara, Katsina, and Sokoto states.

The governor noted that the brand new vehicles will be handed over to the Governor of Maradi Region in a ceremony to hold later.

He requested a regular meeting on security with the Nigerien Minister of Defence, the Governor of Maradi, and the Governor of Zamfara State, as well as those of Katsina and Sokoto, states, in a bid to end the lingering security challenges facing the two countries.

Responding, President Bazoum thanked Matawalle for the visit and all major efforts he has taken to end the insecurity affecting the two countries, especially within the border of Maradi and North-Western Nigeria.

Bazoum urged the governor to continue with the efforts taken to address insecurity in Zamfara by providing new methods to achieve the sustenance of peace already enjoyed in the region, pointing out that the Government of Niger Republic is ever ready to support Zamfara State in the fight against insecurity.

He also requested that Nigerian governors implement a total ban on the importation of motorcycles into Nigeria.

The president noted that the problem of armed banditry across the Niger Republic is coming from Madawa and Bayan Dutsi and escalated to Nigeria through the Region of Maradi.

He hoped that with the meeting and support provided to the Nigerien government by Governor Matawalle, the issue will be a thing of the past.

The meeting was attended by the Ministers of Defence and Internal Affairs of the Niger Republic, the Chief of Staff to President Mohamed Bazoum, the Service Chiefs of the Republic of Niger, and the country’s Inspector General of Police.

Accompanying Governor Matawalle were Senator Sahabi Yau Kaura, Representing Zamfara North Senatorial District; Hon member Representing Gummi/Bukkuyum Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Engineer Suleiman Abubakar Mahmoud Gummi, Principal Private Secretary to the Governor, Lawal Umar Maradun, and some principal officers in the state.

Burkina Faso, Niger Republic Say 100 ‘Terrorists’ Killed In Joint Operation

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa that covers an area of around 274,200 square kilometres and is bordered by Mali to the northwest, Niger to the northeast, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and the Ivory Coast to the southwest.
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa that covers an area of around 274,200 square kilometres and is bordered by Mali to the northwest, Niger to the northeast, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and the Ivory Coast to the southwest.

 

The armies of Burkina Faso and neighbouring Niger said Thursday they had killed around 100 “terrorists” in a joint military operation against jihadists on the border between November 25 and December 9.

The operation managed to “neutralise around 100 terrorists” and “detain around 20 suspicious individuals”, they said in a joint statement.

They had also dismantled two bases, one in Kokoloukou in western Niger and another in Yeritagui in eastern Burkina Faso.

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Four Burkinabe soldiers also lost their lives in a roadside bomb attack, it added.

Both sides deployed foot soldiers, as well as “surveillance and combat aircraft” during the operation, whose headquarters are in the town of Tillaberi in western Niger.

Tillaberi is located in the so-called tri-border area — a flashpoint zone where the frontiers of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali converge.

Groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State group have plagued the Sahel region since 2015.

AFP

Dozens Dead In Niger Republic Attack

Flag of Niger Republic

 

A jihadist attack in Niger’s volatile “tri-border” zone with Burkina Faso and Mali has killed dozens of members of a self-defence militia, local sources told AFP on Thursday.

The assault took place on Tuesday at Adab-Dab, a village about 55 kilometres (32 miles) from Banibangou in the western region of Tillaberi, a source said.

A motorcycle-borne defence force was attacked by “heavily-armed members of the ISGS (Islamic State in the Greater Sahara,” who were also on motorbikes, the source said.

“In all, there are about 60 dead, nine missing and 15 escaped. The mayor of Banibangou is among those who were killed and his body has been recovered,” an MP in the western Tillaberi area said.

A security source said the attack occurred “on Tuesday at around 9.30 am” (0830 GMT).

Another local source confirmed the death toll and said the target of the attack was a local anti-jihadist defence force called the Vigilance Committees, which was headed by the mayor of Banibangou district.

The assailants headed off back to Mali “taking the bodies of their fighters with them”, the source said.

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The defence force had recently been set up by local people following a string of attacks on farm workers in remote fields by highly mobile jihadists, a former mayor said.

The militia had set off for Adab-Dab on Tuesday to hunt for armed men who had been attacking villages and stealing cattle.

The world’s poorest country by the benchmark of the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI), Niger is facing jihadist insurgencies both on its western border with Mali and Burkina Faso and on its southeastern frontier with Nigeria.

The western insurgency began with incursions in 2015. The bloodshed escalated in 2017, with massacres carried out by groups affiliated to al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State.

Human Rights Watch estimated in August that more than 420 civilians had been killed since the start of the year in western Niger. In one incident alone, 100 people were killed in attacks on villages on January 2.

In September, President Mohamed Bazoum, making his first visit to the region since being elected in February, said the attacks on “unarmed innocent people” were a sign the jihadists were losing ground against the army.

But on October 20, 11 members of the National Guard and a gendarme were killed in an ambush on a regional prefect’s motorcade in the Bankilare district.

The United Nations has meanwhile warned that the Tillaberi region is facing a “major food crisis”, with almost 600,000 people exposed to food insecurity.

“Insecurity and recurrent attacks by suspected elements of non-state armed groups targeting farmers and civilians will have serious repercussions this year on the already precarious food situation,” the UN Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs office warned in a report sent to AFP last month.

AFP

Trafficking: 22 Libya-Bound Nigerians Rescued In Niger Republic

The crest of the Nigeria Police Force crest is on a police officer’s uniform. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

Twenty-two trafficked persons bound for Tripoli, Libya have been rescued in Niger Republic.

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Sokoto revealed this on Tuesday.

Addressing journalists at the NAPTIP Zonal Command in Sokoto, Zonal Commander Abubakar Bashiru said the victims were between the ages of 15 to 20 years.

READ ALSO: Eight Persons Abducted In Zamfara Regain Freedom

He said the victims, mostly from the southern part of Nigeria, were intercepted in Niger Republic and repatriated to Nigeria by the Nigerian police who then handed them over to the officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service at the Illela border.

Mr. Bashiru said the victims were handed over to NAPTIP by the officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service at the Illela border.

He said NAPTIP has commenced investigation to find out the culprit responsible for the heinous crime against the victims.

He also expressed sadness that despite sensitizing the public against the danger of trafficking, parents of some of the victims in trafficking cases are always accomplices in committing the crime.

Boko Haram Kills 16 Soldiers In Niger Republic

Flag of Niger Republic

 

 

 

An attack by hundreds of Boko Haram fighters on a town in Niger’s jihadist-plagued southeast killed 16 soldiers and wounded nine others, Defence Minister Alkassoum Indatou told AFP on Wednesday.

In the assault late on Tuesday  “the positions of our defence and security forces in Baroua, in the Diffa region, were attacked by several hundred Boko Haram elements who came from Lake Chad”, the minister said in a statement.

Nigerien soldiers “neutralised around 50 terrorists” and “secured a large quantity of arms and ammunition”, he added.

Around 6,000 people had returned to the Baroua area in June after fleeing jihadist attacks in 2015.

Authorities had said that 19 villages like Baroua where more than 26,000 had returned recently were under “reinforced” protection — although Diffa governor Issa Lemine also hailed the “positive development of the security situation” as he welcomed returnees.

Those who fled had been living in safer villages, UN camps or with relatives elsewhere in the region.

Around 300,000 displaced people from Niger or neighbouring Nigeria have found shelter in the Diffa region from jihadist groups like Boko Haram and the Islamic State group affiliate ISWAP, according to the UN.

Earlier this month, Niger said it would build an airbase there to step up its anti-jihadist fight.

But it must also contend with jihadists who commit regular bloody attacks in the wider Sahel region stretching across the southern fringes of the Sahara, including the IS affiliate ISGS.

On August 16 at least 37 civilians including women and children were killed in an attack on a village by attackers who arrived on motorbikes.

Two weeks before, 15 soldiers were killed in an ambush.

Flood Death Toll Rises To 64 In Niger Republic

Carrying personal belonging away from flooded areas in Niamey anyway they can. (Credit: OCHA/Franck Kuwonu)

 

 

Heavy rains that have lashed the Niger Republic since June have claimed 64 lives, authorities said on Saturday, as floods and landslides hit the West African country normally used to drought.

In a statement read out on national television, Niger’s cabinet said 32 people had died when their buildings collapsed, and another 32 drowned.

The floods and landslides had affected close to 70,000 people in total, the statement said, with more than 5,000 houses destroyed or damaged.

The worst-affected regions are Maradi in the south, Agadez in the Sahara desert, and the capital Niamey.

Cholera is spreading as a result, killing 16 people so far, the health ministry warned.

Niger’s rainy season normally lasts three to four months, from June to August or September.

But it has been particularly deadly over the past few years, including in northern desert regions, in a country where crop failures are normally attributed to drought.

In 2020, floods caused 73 deaths and created a humanitarian crisis with 2.2 million people needing help, according to the United Nations.

Flooding: Buhari Commiserates With Niger Republic

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has extended his sympathy to the government of Niger Republic over recent flooding in the neighboring country.

According to a statement signed by presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu, the President described the losses from the flooding as vast and disturbing.

“President Muhammadu Buhari condoles with President Mohammed Bazoum, government and people of Niger Republic over devastating floods that have left many dead and affected homes,” the statement said.

“President Buhari says losses reported from Niger Republic in the last two days were very vast and disturbing, while also taking note of flooding in many parts of the world, including some states in Nigeria.

“The President affirms that natural disasters are symptoms of climate change which all countries, including Nigeria, have committed to taking measures to prevent the adverse effects.

“President Buhari prays for all the departed souls and affected families.”