On Friday, March 20, the government announced the extension of the state of emergency declared in March 3, in several departments of the western regions of Tillabéri and Tahoua, located near the border with Mali. The state of emergency has been extended for three months in 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. This measure will grant security forces additional powers, including the ability to conduct 24/7 home searches. This decision comes after three jihadist groups operating in the Sahel region – Ansar Dine, Al-Mourabitoun, and the Macina Liberation Front – announced their merger on March 2, under the new name “The Defense Group of Islam and Muslims” (Groupe de Soutien à l'Islam et aux Musulmans).
Niger is facing a high threat of terrorism (attacks and abductions). Islamist militant cells from various Malian terrorist groups – al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa [MUJAO], and Al-Mourabitoun, who are a merger between MUJAO (Those who Sign with Blood Brigade), and the Nigerians Boko Haram – are all active in the country. In the last quarter of 2016, terrorist attacks and insecurity were on the rise along the border with Mali.
The regions of Tillabéri and Tahoua have become very unstable due to numerous violent attacks, which regularly target army units, as well as refugee camps. These attacks are attributed to Malian jihadist groups linked in particular to the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao). At the end of February, 16 soldiers were killed and 18 wounded in an attack against an army patrol in Tilwa (Ouallam area).
A state of emergency was adopted in the Diffa region from February 2015 to January 2017 due to the threat from the Boko Haram insurgency in the area.
Many Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to areas located north of the country, as well as travels in the western part of the country, and areas along the Nigerian border due to a high risk of terrorist activity.
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.
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