Nigerien authorities announced on Tuesday, August 11, that a special meeting of the National Security Council had decided to extend the current state of emergency in western and northern parts of the Tillaberi region to two additional prefectures, following the militant attack on a group of French NGO workers in the Koure area on August 9. The emergency measures will now apply to the prefectures of Kollo, which includes the Koure Giraffe Reserve where Sunday's attack occurred, and Balleyara, east of Niamey, giving security forces additional authorization to conduct anti-terrorism operations.
The Koure Giraffe Reserve has also been closed whilst security forces continue search operations to locate the group responsible for the killings. Although multiple militant groups have posed an increasing threat in parts of the western and northern Tillaberi region in recent years, the Koure area had not previously seen significant attacks and was not considered a high-risk location by the Nigerien government, allowing the giraffe reserve to remain open to tourists.
Security operations are likely in the Koure area and elsewhere in the eastern Tillaberi region in the near term.
There has been increasing concern in recent years over the threat from terrorism in the Niger's 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; professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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