On Saturday, June 17, the government announced that the state of emergency currently in effect in several departments of the of Tillabéri and Tahoua, located in western Niger near the border with Mali, , would be extended by an additional three months. The departments of Ouallam, Ayorou, Bankilaré, Abala, and Banibangou in the Tillabéri region as well as in the departments of Tassara and Tilia in the Tahoua region are affected. The order grants security forces additional powers to ensure law and order, including license to conduct 24/7 home searches as well as more material and judicial means to combat the jihadist threat.
The state of emergency was first declared on March 3 in response to the March 2 announcement by three jihadist groups operating in the Sahel region – Ansar Dine, Al-Mourabitoun, and the Macina Liberation Front – that they would merge under the new name “The Defense Group of Islam and Muslims” (Groupe de Soutien à l'Islam et aux Musulmans). The order was extended on March 20.
Niger is facing a high threat of terrorism (attacks and abductions). Islamist militant cells from various Malian terrorist groups – including 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.
The regions of Tillabéri and Tahoua have become very unstable due to numerous violent attacks, which regularly target army units and refugee camps.
Visitors throughout the country should be on guard when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (government installations, prominent hotels, etc.) and report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.
Many Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to areas located in the north and west of the country, as well as areas along the Nigerian border to the south, due to a high risk of terrorist activity.