Niger. At the beginning of the year, violent protests occurred in the capital Niamey and the country’s second largest city Zinder against the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, who just got his employees murdered. But the Niger protests concerned the cover of the satirical magazine with a drawing depicting Prophet Muhammad saying “I am Charlie” under the words “Everything is forgiven”. Several casualties were called for in riots, where churches and bars were burned and French companies and cultural centers were attacked.
During the year, Niger was seriously affected by the attacks by Islamist militia Boko Haram, which attacked across the border in southeastern Nigeria. The attacks came in February in the Diffar region, where Niger’s army and Chad’s air force claimed to strike back the attackers. According to military records, over 100 Islamists were killed.
Thousands of soldiers were mobilized to fight Boko Haram in the border areas. At the same time, Niger sent several hundred men to Nigeria to join an international force against Boko Haram.
The government issued emergency permits in the Diffar region, and hundreds of people were arrested on suspicion of having links to Boko Haram. The war in the border regions also required many civilian victims.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Niamey is the capital of Niger which is located in Western Africa. Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau swore allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) in March. In April, Boko Haram hit islands in the Nigerian part of Lake Chad, where many casualties were required, civilian and military. The violence forced thousands of people to flee the islands, and in the Diffar region there were already tens of thousands of Nigerian refugees who had escaped there from Boko Haram’s attack in Nigeria.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Niger country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
Niger collaborated with Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Benin as well as French and US military in the regional fight against Boko Haram. Following the serious attacks at the beginning of the year, Niger asked for help from the United States to train and equip local forces to defend the villages along the border with Nigeria. Work was also underway to try to counteract local youth being recruited by the Islamist militia. After unsuccessful harvests, young farmers in the area had become heavily indebted and were vulnerable to enticements from Boko Haram with money or vehicles.
At the end of the year, Boko Haram increased its attacks with more casualties. In October, a new state of emergency was announced in the Diffar region, where many people were on the run and thousands of students were unable to attend school. The Nigerian Air Force attacked a lock for Boko Haram.
Niger had been ranked by the UN as the world’s poorest country. In June, thousands of people in the capital demonstrated with demands for the government’s departure following repeated and long power cuts. Businessmen also demanded that the government cancel a contract with a French group, which was believed to have resulted in sharply increased taxes and fees. The government was also criticized for its proposal to increase the number of members of parliament in the elections in early 2016.
Ahead of the upcoming elections, a broad political alliance was formed against the government under the name of the Republican People’s Front. Several leading opposition politicians were included, including former President Hama Amadou and former President Mahamane Ousmane. Hama Amadou had been accused of involvement in a scandal involving trafficking in infants. When he returned to Niger in November after a year in exile, he was arrested. He said the charges against him were political, and when his supporters demonstrated, several of them were arrested.
During the year, the penalty for human smuggling was increased up to 30 years in prison and fined up to approximately SEK 400,000. Through Niger, a route for refugees and migrants from Africa to Europe crosses the Mediterranean, and many human smugglers operate in the country.
The first years of the 21st century. they marked a novelty in the political life of Niger because, for the first time since the introduction of multi-partyism (1992), they were characterized by relative political and government stability. M. Tandja, elected President of the Republic in 1999, in fact duly concluded his mandate in 2004 and so it was also for the legislature. However, institutional stability did not correspond to an improvement in the economic and social situation, which continued to be characterized by strongly negative connotations. Niger was in last place in the UN Human Development Index in 2004, with an illiteracy rate of over 70%, with a life expectancy at birth of 44 years, with 64 % of the population below the poverty line and with strong demographic growth (3.3 %). To aggravate the precarious situation of the country, already poor in resources and infrastructure, they contributed in the early years of the 21st° sec. the drop in the price of uranium, of which Niger was the second largest producer in the world, foreign debt and the crisis in the Ivory Coast (traditional outlet for Nigerian emigration). The budget economies imposed by international organizations also deprived the State of resources to be allocated to health and education, worsening the living conditions of the population and keeping the level of social conflict high, particularly in the public sector, which fell several times. on strike during 2000 and 2001for non-payment of salaries. The crisis in the school system, if in the high levels of education aggravated the chronic lack of technical skills, in the basic education system favored the spread of Koranic schools financed by the countries of the Arabian Gulf. The taking root of fundamentalism introduced another element of crisis in the fragile structure of the country: during the year 2000 many Islamic organizations, which grew up in various cultural centers in those years, made a request to introduce the šar ī ̔a (Koranic law). In November 2000 there were demonstrations with violent clashes and many arrests, while further arrests of Islamic leaders took place during 2002. The government, supported by a weak parliamentary majority, also found itself having to face, in July 2002, an attempted mutiny by the armed forces, which led it to declare a state of emergency in a part of the country. The government itself used this moment of crisis to restrict press freedom, by closing newspapers and arresting independent journalists (second half of 2003), and to increase its control over the mass media. The solution of the conflict that had opposed the central government to the Tuareg for many years, with the surrender of weapons by the last rebel groups in June 2000, made possible the introduction in the new penal code of the norm that punished the practice of slavery, traditionally widespread in Tuareg society, and the participation in government positions of personalities belonging to this ethnic group. In 2004 (Nov.-Dec.) The presidential elections took place which saw the victory in the second round of Tandja with 65.5 % of the votes. In the legislative consultations held at the same time as the second round, the Mouvement national pour la société de développement (MNSD-Nassara), the party of reference of the president, obtained 47 seats out of 113, followed with 25 by the coalition led by Parti nigérien pour la démocratie et le socialisme (PNDS-Tarayya) and 22 from the Convention démocratique et social (CDS-Rahama), while the other 19 seats went to other minor formations. The country’s already precarious economic conditions worsened further in 2005 due to the drought that caused a very serious food crisis and also required the intervention of the United Nations with an emergency plan coordinated by the World Food Program (WFP).