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.”

49 Killed In Niger Republic Armed Attack

Niger Republic map.

 

Five civilians, four soldiers and 40 armed attackers were killed Sunday in a clash in Niger’s restive southwest region near the border with Mali, the government said.

Around 100 heavily armed “terrorists” riding motorcycles attacked the Tchoma Bangou village, striking around 3 pm Sunday, Niger’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement read on public television that did not identify who it suspected was behind the latest deadly incident.

The “prompt and vigorous reaction” by the Defense and Security Forces (FDS), “made it possible to repel the attack and inflict heavy losses on the enemy”, the ministry said, adding that its soldiers had seized motorcycles and a cache of weapons, including AK47s and machine guns, from the assailants.

Tchoma Bangou is located in the Tillaberi region, bordering Mali and Burkina Faso, an area known as “the three borders” that has been regularly targeted by jihadist groups.

Tillaberi has been under a state of emergency since 2017. The authorities have banned motorbike traffic night and day for a year and ordered the closure of certain markets suspected of supplying “terrorists”.

One of the poorest countries in the world, Niger has for years battled jihadist insurgencies on its southwestern flank with Mali, as well as Boko Haram on its southeastern border with Nigeria. The repeated attacks have claimed hundreds of lives and forced thousands to flee their homes.

In January, 70 civilians were killed by gunmen in Tchoma Bangou and 30 in the neighbouring village of Zaroumadareye.

Last month, 19 people were killed in villages in the same commune, according to officials.

According to United Nations estimates, there are more than 300,000 internally displaced people in Niger, many of whom fled terrorist violence that has escalated since 2015.

AFP

Niger Sets Goal Of Returning 130,000 Nigerian Refugees By Year-End

Niger’s president Mohamed Bazoum leaves the polling station after casting his ballot in Niamey on December 27, 2020 during Niger’s presidential and legislative elections. (Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP)

 

Niger and the state of Borno in neighbouring Nigeria have struck a deal for the return this year of more than 130,000 Nigerian refugees, Niger’s president Mohamed Bazoum said Friday.

“We have set a deadline of the month of November-December for all the refugees from Nigeria who are in the Diffa region (of southeast Niger) to return home, it’s more than 130,000 people,” Bazoum told reporters on the sidelines of a G5 Sahel summit in Paris.

Niger hosts tens of thousands of people who have fled from northeast Nigeria, where Boko Haram Islamists launched a bloody campaign a dozen years ago.

Borno has borne the brunt of the conflict, which has killed around 40,000 people and displaced more than two million.

Its authorities are already trying, with limited success, to encourage internally-displaced people in Borno to return to their homes.

NIger is also fighting jihadist incursions on two fronts — on its western border with Mali and in its southeastern border with Nigeria, in the vast Lake Chad area.

The Diffa region is home to 300,000 Nigerian refugees and displaced people, according to the UN.

The landlocked Sahel state is the world’s poorest country, according to the UN’s Human Development Index.

AFP

Thirteen Jihadists, Four Civilians Killed In Niger – Military

 

 

Thirteen Boko Haram fighters have been killed in clashes in southeast Niger while four civilians have been executed by the jihadists, a mixed African military force said Thursday.

Boko Haram fighters aboard ten vehicles sprang an ambush on soldiers on Tuesday evening along the road between Diffa and Maine Soroa, the Mixed Multinational Force (FMM) said in a statement.

“This attack was foiled thanks to the bravery of our ground and air forces,” said the FMM, which is made up of soldiers from Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Before the attack, the assailants intercepted a bus transporting passengers and attacked “peaceful villagers,” it said.

“Four civilians were executed by the enemy,” including the bus driver, two villagers and a village chief, the MMF said.

It added that six soldiers and two female civilians were wounded.

“On the enemy’s side, thirteen terrorists were neutralised,” it said, using a term indicating they were killed.

The force seized one enemy vehicle, four AK-47 rifles and large quantities of munitions.

Jihadists in Niger have since May increased attacks in the region bordering Lake Chad and against Diffa, its large city.

Rated the poorest country in the world under the UN’s Human Development Index, Niger is battling jihadist insurgences on its southwestern flank with Mali and on its southeastern border with Nigeria.

Last month, nearly 6,000 people who fled jihadist violence in 2015 returned home to the troubled Diffa region.

Diffa is home to 300,000 refugees and internally displaced people who have fled attacks by the Nigeria-based Boko Haram and its breakaway faction Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), according to the UN.

Two Killed In Niger As Troops Foil Jihadist Attack

File photo of Niger Republic map.

 

 

 

Two villagers were killed during a raid in Niger’s troubled south as troops repulsed an attack by jihadists in another area, security sources said Wednesday.

The director of a school and a retired education official were “killed in cold blood” while sleeping in the village of Fantio Tuesday night in the southwestern region of Tillaberi, a security source told AFP.

The attackers, who were riding motorcycles, took away cattle, the source added.

In mid-May, during the Muslim festival of Eid, raiders killed five people and seriously wounded two others in the same village.

Also on Tuesday, soldiers foiled an attack by Boko Haram jihadists in the volatile Lake Chad region, killing three of the attackers and seizing weapons, a multinational military force said.

The remaining attackers fled in four vehicles following the clash in the southeastern town of Bosso, said a statement from the Mixed Multinational Force (FMM).

“Three attackers were neutralised (killed) and one vehicle seized,” the force said, adding that a machinegun and three Kalashnikov assault rifles had also been recovered.

The FMM is made up of soldiers from Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

A local lawmaker from Bosso confirmed both the attack and the toll.

Rated the poorest country in the world under the UN’s Human Development Index, Niger is battling jihadist insurgences on its southwestern flank with Mali and on its southeastern border with Nigeria.

The foiled raid came just two days after nearly 6,000 people who fled jihadist violence in 2015 returned home to the troubled Diffa region where Bosso is located.

Diffa is home to 300,000 refugees and internally displaced people who have fled attacks by the Nigeria-based Boko Haram and its breakaway faction Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), according to the UN.

16 Soldiers Killed, One Missing In Niger Republic Ambush

File photo of Niger Republic map.

 

Sixteen Niger soldiers have been killed and another is missing after an ambush against a patrol in the Tahoua region near the Mali border, local officials said Sunday.

During the attack by “bandits” on Saturday the toll was “16 dead, six injured and one missing,” Tahoua department secretary general Ibrahim Miko said on public television.

He attended the funeral of Lieutenant Maman Namewa, commander of the patrol which was attacked.

The vast desert area of Tahoua in the west of the country  sits close to the borders of both Mali and Burkina Faso and has been plagued by jihadist violence since 2012.

In March an attack by suspected jihadists on three villages near Niger’s border with Mali left a total of 141 people dead, according to the official toll.

They were the worst attacks committed by suspected jihadists in Niger in recent years.

READ ALSO: Ivorian Police Arrest 12 People After Attack On Military Base

The world’s poorest nation according to the UN’s development rankings for 189 countries, Niger is also struggling with Islamist insurgencies that have spilled over from Mali and Nigeria.

The attacks in western Niger are often attributed to groups affiliated to the Al-Qaeda and Islamic State groups.

Such attacks against civilians have multiplied this year, with over 300 people killed in villages and encampments in western Niger.

AFP

Niger President To Be Sworn In On Friday After ‘Attempted Coup’

Niger’s president-elect Mohamed Bazoum leaves the polling station after casting his ballot in Niamey on December 27, 2020 during Niger’s presidential and legislative elections. (Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP)

 

Niger’s newly-elected president Mohamed Bazoum is set to be sworn into office on Friday, a democratic watershed overshadowed by jihadist violence and alleged coup bid two days ago.

The inauguration will mark the first-ever transition between elected presidents in Niger’s six decades of independence from France — a historic moment that has been widely praised.

But the Sahel country’s instability and insecurity have been deeply underscored in the runup to Friday’s ceremony.

In the early hours of Wednesday, after gunfire broke out near the presidency in the capital Niamey, the government announced an “attempted coup” had been thwarted — a “cowardly and regressive act which sought to threaten democracy and the state of law”.

The alleged coup leader is an air force officer in charge of security at Niamey’s air base and is being “actively sought”, a source within Niger’s security services told AFP on Wednesday.

Niger’s president-elect Mohamed Bazoum speaks to media outside the polling station after voting during Niger’s election run-off, in Niamey on February 21, 2021. Issouf SANOGO / AFP

 

 

Another security source said “a few members of the army” had been behind the coup but had been prevented from approaching the presidential palace by the elite Presidential Guard.

“Some arrests” were made, the source said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was among worried foreign leaders, calling the armed forces “to strictly abide by their constitutional obligations”.

– World’s poorest country –
Bazoum, 60, is a former interior minister and right-hand man of outgoing president Mahamadou Issoufou, 68, who has voluntarily stepped down after two five-year terms.

Bazoum won a runoff vote for the presidency in February with 55.6 percent of the ballot, according to official results contested by his opponent, Mahamane Ousmane.

But his most formidable rival, former premier Hama Amadou, was banned from running because of a conviction for baby trafficking — a charge he has branded politically motivated.

READ ALSO: Super Eagles Soar Over Lesotho To End AFCON Qualifiers Unbeaten

Niger is the poorest country in the world, according to the benchmark of the UN’s 189-nation Human Development Index (HDI).

The West African nation has suffered four coups in its history, most recently a February 2010 putsch that toppled then-president Mamadou Tandja.

It has also been ravaged by repeated jihadist attacks, from insurgents who have advanced from Mali in the west and Nigeria in the southeast.

More than 300 people have been killed in three attacks in the west since the start of the year.

AFP

Niger Republic Thwarts ‘Attempted Coup’ Before Presidential Inauguration

Niger’s presidential candidate Mohamed Bazoum leaves the polling station after casting his ballot in Niamey on December 27, 2020 during Niger’s presidential and legislative elections. – Voters in the Sahel state of Niger go to the polls on December 27, 2020 for an election that could seal the country’s first-ever peaceful handover between elected presidents, despite a bloody jihadist insurgency. (Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP)

 

 

Niger thwarted an “attempted coup” on Wednesday, the government said, two days before the historic inauguration of Mohamed Bazoum as president of the unstable Sahel nation.

Residents in the capital Niamey earlier reported hearing gunfire in the middle of the night in the district where the presidency is located.

A government statement said “an attempted coup” had been blocked, condemning what it called a “cowardly and regressive act which sought to threaten democracy and the state of law.”

An investigation has been launched and “several people connected with this attempted coup have been detained and others are being actively sought,” it said, without giving further details.

The alleged leader of the coup is an air force officer in charge of security of Niamey’s military air base and is still being “actively sought”, a source within Niger’s security services told AFP.

“The situation is totally under control,” the government statement said, calling on the public to “carry on with normal life.”

A security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “there were some arrests among a few members of the army” who had been behind the coup bid.

“The Presidential Guard retaliated, preventing this group of soldiers from approaching the presidential palace,” the source said.

A resident of Niamey’s Plateau district, which includes the president’s official residence and offices, told AFP: “It was around 3:00 am, we heard shots from heavy and light weapons and it lasted 15 minutes before stopping, followed by shots from light weapons.”

“The gunfire lasted about 20 minutes,” another resident said.

A third resident spoke of “intense shooting, with heavy and light weapons”.

Online newspaper actuniger.com reported that calm had returned by around 4:00 am.

In short video clips posted on social networks, only several seconds in length, sporadic bursts of gunfire could be heard in the pitch dark.

It was not immediately possible to verify the videos independently.

The presidential district was being patrolled by security forces, but in the rest of the city, life seemed to carry on as normal some 12 hours after the coup, an AFP journalist said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was monitoring the situation in Niger with “great concern”, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“He urges all involved to desist from any form of incitement that threatens democratic consolidation and the stability of the country,” he told reporters.

“He particularly calls on the armed forces to strictly abide by their constitutional obligations.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who himself once took power in a coup, condemned the attempted putsch, saying he was “particularly concerned about the negative impact of coups on African stability, peace and progress”.

– Looming inauguration –
The US embassy said it was suspending consular services until further notice and advised its employees not to come to work, and the French embassy similarly urged French nationals to stay at home.

The alleged coup comes ahead of Bazoum’s inauguration on Friday — the first elected transition in Niger’s history since independence from France in 1960.

Numerous heads of state are expected to attend the ceremonies, according to the government.

Bazoum is a former interior minister and right-hand man of outgoing president Mahamadou Issoufou, who is voluntarily stepping down after two five-year terms, a move that has been warmly praised by France and others.

Bazoum’s victory in the second round of elections on February 2 was confirmed by the constitutional court this month.

The runner-up, former president Mahamane Ousmane, contested the results, claiming that he was the real winner.

Ousmane had called for “peaceful marches” across the country, but authorities banned a planned opposition protest Wednesday in Niamey the day before.

– Troubled nation –
Niger is the poorest country in the world, according to the benchmark of the UN’s 189-nation Human Development Index (HDI).

It has suffered four coups in its history, most recently a February 2010 putsch which toppled then president Mamadou Tandja.

The Sahel country has also been struck by repeated jihadist attacks, from insurgents who have advanced from Mali in the west and Nigeria in the southeast.

More than 300 people have been killed in three attacks in the west since the start of the year.

In the most recent of these, 141 members of the Tuareg community were massacred on March 21 in Tahoua, a vast desert region abutting Mali.

Bazoum has ruled out any talks with the insurgents.

Niger’s armed forces are poorly equipped and trained, and number just 25,000 in a country twice the size of Texas.

On March 8, Issoufou, the outgoing president, was awarded the coveted Ibrahim Prize — Africa’s top prize for leadership.

Niger Govt Says 137 Killed In Sunday Attacks

File photo of Niger Republic map.

 

Attacks by suspected jihadists in villages in Niger’s Tahoua region on Sunday left 137 people dead, the government said, in a massacre that has underscored the huge security challenges facing new President Mohamed Bazoum.

“In treating civilian populations systematically as targets now, these armed bandits have gone a step further into horror and brutality,” government spokesman Zakaria Abdourahamane said in a statement read on public television on Monday.

The jump in the death toll, which had been given as at least 60 earlier Monday, would make Sunday’s attacks the deadliest suspected jihadist massacre ever committed in Niger.

Gunmen arriving on motorbikes attacked the villages of Intazayene, Bakorat and Wistane near the border with Mali, shooting “at everything which moved,” a local official said.

“The government condemns these brutal acts perpetrated by individuals who know neither faith nor the law,” Abdourahamane said.

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The government has declared three days of national morning from Tuesday.

“Reinforced security and sanitary measures will be taken in the region and an investigation has been launched to find the perpetrators of these cowardly and criminal acts, and bring them before the courts,” the government statement said.

The world’s poorest nation according to the UN’s development rankings for 189 countries, Niger is also struggling with jihadist insurgencies that have spilled over from Mali and Nigeria.

Hundreds of lives have been lost, nearly half a million people have fled their homes, and devastating damage has been inflicted in the former French colony.

The three villages are located in the arid Tahoua region in western Niger, abutting the Tillaberi region in a border region notorious for jihadist attacks.

AFP