Upsurge in Attacks Signals Growing Islamist Threat in Niger

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Upsurge in Attacks Signals Growing Islamist Threat in Niger


Four attacks within the last three weeks in Niger have raised the specter of a growing Islamist threat in the country, World Watch Monitor reports. In the latest attack on June 11, unidentified armed men attacked a paramilitary barracks on the outskirts of Niamey, the capital. Niger authorities have not made any announcement, but local media say there were no casualties and the attackers managed to flee. On May 23, two suicide attacks in the North of the country targeted a military base in Agadez and a French-run uranium mine in Arlit, respectively. Two Islamist groups active in Mali, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) and the Signed-in-Blood Battalion, claimed responsibility for the attacks, which left 36 dead – most of them soldiers -- and threatened further violence. Niger president Mahamadou Issoufou said the insurgents came from neighboring southern Libya. On June 1, more than 20 prisoners escaped from the main detention center in Niamey, the capital, following an attack which Niger authorities attributed to members of Boko Haram, an Islamist sect operating in neighboring Nigeria.

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