Niger calls emergency state in region bordering Nigeria
Niger has declared a state of emergency in a southeastern region bordering Nigeria, which has come under repeated recent attacks by the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram.
The measure, which will grant increased powers to security forces, including to carry out searches, was imposed on Tuesday. “The state of emergency is proclaimed in the Diffa region for a period of 15 days,” a statement read on state radio said.
The militants have attacked Niger several times since last week. One such attack by a female bomber on Monday killed at least six people and wounded several others.
Meanwhile, Niger’s parliament has voted unanimously to send troops to Nigeria to join a regional fight against Boko Haram.
According to AFP, the worsening militancy has killed at least 13,000 people and rendered more than a million others homeless since 2009.
The United Nations food agency has voiced concern for 125,000 Nigerian refugees who fled attacks by the Boko Haram militants, seeking shelter in neighboring Niger.
On Tuesday, the World Food Program (WFP) warned of the “appalling situation” and food shortage in the Diffa region.
“The World Food Program is particularly concerned by the attacks in the north of Nigeria which are spreading to Niger, forcing thousands of people to flee,” said WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs.
Byrs added that the distribution of food had been temporarily interrupted as a result of a new operation launched by the militants in Diffa, which borders Nigeria’s Borno state.
Nigeria’s National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki said on Monday that an underway multilateral offensive against Boko Haram will root out the Takfiri group within six weeks.
The official said, “All known Boko Haram camps will be taken out. They won’t be there. They will be dismantled.”
Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Benin have pledged to create an 8,700-strong force to fight the militancy.