A Niger-based NGO announced on Thursday, June 25, that ten of their employees had been kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in the country's southwestern Tillaberi region, near the border with Burkina Faso. The group were reportedly abducted on Wednesday, June 24, whilst distributing food aid in the border village of Bossey Bangou, around 90km (56 miles) west of Niamey. The assailants are believed to have arrived in the area on motorcycles and forced the aid workers to follow them in their own vehicles, although it is currently unclear whether they crossed into Burkina Faso.
Security operations are likely in the area in the near term.
There has been increasing concern in recent years over the threat from terrorism in the southwestern Tillaberi region as groups such as Nusrat al-Islam (JNIM), Islamic State in the Greater Sahel (ISGS), and Ansarul Islam have expanded their operations across the borders with Mali and Burkina Faso. Hundreds of military personnel and civilians have been killed in the region in sporadic attacks on security forces patrols and bases, as well as refugee camps, since 2018. The attacks have prompted a significant increase in security deployments in the southwest, including a newly built US airbase, but the government has struggled to stem the violence. Parts of the Tillaberi and Tahoua regions remain under a state of emergency due to the persistent insecurity.
Those in the Tillaberi region are advised to monitor developments, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments. The security environment in Niger remains complex and professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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