Overview:  Niger faces terrorist threats on most of its borders.  Terrorist organizations exploit Niger’s extensive borders and sparsely populated regions to attack and recruit among populations where access to government services is weak and economic opportunity is negligible.  The modest size of Niger’s defense force stresses its efforts to fight terrorism, as do budget shortfalls, ineffective coordination among security services, and instability in Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, and the Lake Chad Basin.

Terrorist groups active in Niger include ISIS-Sahel (formerly known as ISIS-GS), Boko Haram, Islamic State-West Africa (ISIS-WA), and al-Qa’ida affiliate Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM).

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  Terrorist organizations carried out at least 180 attacks in Niger during 2022.  Two main fronts saw attacks from Boko Haram and ISIS-WA in the Southeast, and from JNIM and ISIS-Sahel in the West and Northwest.  The following five incidents are examples of the most significant attacks:

  • On February 20, presumed ISIS-Sahel militants attacked a communal transport vehicle near the village of Tizegorou (Banibangou, Tillabéri Region).  At least 18 people were killed and eight others wounded, including five severely, and the vehicle burned.
  • On March 7, Boko Haram militants attacked the village of Lada, Diffa Region.  At least 10 people were killed, several others were wounded, and an unknown number of women were abducted.
  • On March 16, ISIS-Sahel militants attacked a communal transport bus and a truck between the villages of Fono and Zelengue (Téra, Tillabéri Region).  Twenty-one people were killed including drivers, two off-duty policemen, and passengers.  Also, seven persons were wounded, including a severely wounded off-duty policeman.
  • On June 6 and August 11, JNIM conducted a small arms attack against a Gendarme checkpoint and detonated an IED, killing two civilians.  Both attacks occurred within 10 miles of Embassy Niamey near the village of Bougoum (Say, Tillabéri Region).
  • On September 20, ISIS-WA militants killed 11 lumberjacks a few kilometers south of Toumour (Diffa Region).

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security:  Niger reinforced its capacity to investigate and prosecute terrorists, consistent with the rule of law and international human rights.  Its counterterrorism investigations are managed by the Central Service for the Fight Against Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime (the SCLCT-CTO), an interagency body formed by members of the National Police, the National Guard, and the Gendarmerie.

Niger is recognized by regional partners as a leader in prosecuting terrorism suspects through its specialized antiterrorism court.  An Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training Resident Legal Advisor stationed at the embassy worked to improve the capabilities of counterterrorism investigators, prosecutors, and judges to support proactive investigations, to increase efficiency in case processing, and to reduce the number of pending cases.

Niger continued to enhance its capacity to detect and deter terrorist incursions at its borders and ports of entry through the expansion of new technologies, public outreach, critical infrastructure development, and additional specialized security forces assigned along the border.  However, it remained dependent on international partners to fund and implement border security initiatives.

The country uses border security systems through the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire, a bureau within the national police responsible for travel documents, identification credentials, and border security.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Niger is a member of the Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa.  Its FIU, the National Financial Intelligence and Processing unit of Niger, is a member of the Egmont Group.  There were no significant changes in 2022.

Countering Violent Extremism:  Niger’s national Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration, and Reconciliation (DDRR) framework provides Violent Extremist Organization defector screening by the SCLCT-CTO and the national prosecutor to determine rehabilitation eligibility.  In addition to the regional defections center in Goudoumaria, in Diffa Region, Niger opened a second center in 2022 in Hamdallaye, Tillabéri Region.  While the Ministry of Interior led the DDRR program, the High Authority for the Consolidation of Peace used French funding to rehabilitate and release 113 defectors from Goudoumaria Center in 2022.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) strengthened women’s representation, capacity, and leadership, including support for the G-5 Sahel Women’s Platform, and established local peace committees to strengthen local conflict monitoring, prevention of violent extremism, and management.  USAID and the Department of State supported youth-led conflict mitigation and stabilization efforts in northern and central Tillabéri.  These efforts included support for community radio stations in delivering positive messages to counter Violent Extremist Organizations’ ideology and activities to prevent and resolve community-level conflict.

USAID supported three operational and pilot research activities on gendered drivers of violent extremism, the role of traditional leaders in resilience to violent extremism, and the effectiveness of community-level programming in building social cohesion and resilience.  USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives concentrated on critical regions affected by emerging security threats in the southern areas of Tillabéri and Dosso Regions.  Under the Niger Stability Support Initiative, USAID partnered with local leaders in these target areas to strengthen government action in response to security threats.

International and Regional Cooperation:  Niger is a co-lead of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS’s Africa Focus Group.  Niger is a member of the G-5 Sahel, the Sahel Alliance, and the Economic Community of West African States.  Niger contributes troops to the Lake Chad Basin Multinational Joint Task Force and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.

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