Niger 2007

Yearbook 2007

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.

According to CountryAAH, Niamey is the capital city of Niger. 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 their writings.

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.