Muslims will celebrate Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) this year beginning on Friday, September 1. During the festivities, which last up to four days, many government offices, foreign embassies, and local businesses close. Heavy road traffic is likely as large numbers of people return home during the holiday. Other transportation disruptions (crowded airports, etc.) are also to be anticipated during this period due to an increased number of travelers. While celebrations typically remain peaceful, the terrorist threat will remain elevated during this period as groups, including Al-Qa’ida, the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), and Boko Haram could step up attacks by targeting public places.
Eid al-Adha is one of the most widely observed holidays in Islam and coincides with the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. According to Islamic customs, worshipers usually slaughter a sheep or goat to share the meat with their family and neighbors.
Although Niger is a secular country, the government recognizes the importance of Islam to its citizens; around 90 percent of the population is Muslim.
On a more general note, this period also marks a significant increase in the terrorist threat in predominately Muslim countries. The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram is particularly active in the Lake Chad region.
Individuals in Niger are advised to allow additional time for travel and to avoid any form of public demonstration or gathering.
On a more general note, many Western governments advise their citizens against travel to areas in the north and west of the country, as well as zones along the Nigerian border, due to a high risk of terrorist activity. Visitors throughout Niger should exercise vigilance when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted by an attack (government buildings, 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 the high risk of terrorist activity.