Local media sources indicate unidentified militants raided a tourist complex in Ayorou (Tillabéri region) on Sunday, May 26, and subsequently fired on a nearby gendarmerie outpost. There were no reported casualties.
Similar attacks in western Niger are possible over the coming weeks.
Several militant groups have been active along the Niger-Mali-Burkina Faso border area, which the countries' respective governments have had difficulty securing in recent years. Officials placed the Tillabéri region under a state of emergency in March 2017 due to an increase in attacks targeting refugee camps and security forces; the order remains in place until June 18, 2019. Islamic State (IS) later claimed responsibility for a May 14 attack on security forces in Tongo Tongo (Tillabéri region) that killed 28 soldiers.
IS has increasingly attributed these attacks to fighters from its West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction which had largely limited its operations to the Lake Chad region. The recent claims signal a shift to attribute attacks to ISWAP in areas previously associated with IS in the Greater Sahara (ISGS). While IS appears to have grouped ISGS under ISWAP, it is likely ISGS continues to operate independently in the Sahel.
Niger faces a high threat from terrorism, including armed attacks and abductions. Militant Islamist cells from various Nigerian and Malian terrorist groups - including Boko Haram, Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), and Al-Mourabitoun - are all active in the country.
Individuals in Niger are advised to monitor the situation, remain vigilant for militant and criminal activity, and exercise vigilance when visiting sites deemed likely to be targeted in an attack (e.g. government buildings, prominent hotels, etc.). Many Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to areas located in the north and west of the country.
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