On Wednesday, July 1, suspected jihadists in Niger released ten aid workers that had been abducted in the southwest of the country. The group were reportedly abducted on June 24 whilst distributing aid in the border village of Bossey Bangou, around 90km (56 miles) west of Niamey. The aid workers were found in a remote area of the Tillabéry region near the border with Burkina Faso; their physical condition remains uncertain. The circumstances of their release are yet to be determined.
Further kidnappings in the area are likely, with security operations anticipated 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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