Niger. An old conflict with the Tuaregic minority in the
north caught fire at the beginning of the year. The Tuaregs
believe that the government has failed to fulfill the
promises of work and political influence given in a peace
agreement that in 1995 set the stage for an armed uprising.
A guerrilla called the Nigerian Justice Movement (MNJ)
conducted a series of attacks on military posts, power
plants, fuel depots, airfields and mines during the year. At
least some 40 army soldiers were killed and several were
captured by the guerrillas. The army sent about 4,000
soldiers to reinforce the area around the city of Agadez.
CountryAAH, the resumed guerrilla war coincided with new attempts by
the government to increase uranium production. One Chinese
company was awarded a contract for the extraction of uranium
and a total of seven companies from Canada, the United
Kingdom and India were granted exploration permits in the Tuaregically dominated desert areas. The MNJ declared all
mining contracts "invalid" and threatened to sabotage all
uranium mining. At the same time as the guerrillas demanded
a specified number of state and military records for
Tuaregs, it also sought an independent investigation of the
radioactive radiation around the mines.
The situation in the north became so serious that MSF
could not continue its operations there. Domestic newspapers
reporting the unrest were given sharp warnings by the
authorities and a local newspaper in Agadez was suspended
for three months for "demoralizing" the soldiers through
After a vote of no confidence in Parliament, the
government was forced to step down in June. The opposition
felt that the entire government was involved in a corruption
scandal that sacked two ministers in 2006. Seyni Oumarou,
who held several previous ministerial posts, was
commissioned to form a new government.