Niger expands emergency across region where aid workers were killed

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Niger's government has extended a state of emergency to the entire region that surrounds the capital Niamey and suspended access to a giraffe reserve where six French aid workers and two Nigeriens were shot dead.

Reuters August 12, 2020 00:10:46 IST
Niger expands emergency across region where aid workers were killed

Niger expands emergency across region where aid workers were killed

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Niger's government has extended a state of emergency to the entire region that surrounds the capital Niamey and suspended access to a giraffe reserve where six French aid workers and two Nigeriens were shot dead.

Attackers on motorbikes ambushed the group on Sunday while they were driving through the reserve, a popular destination for expatriates southeast of Niamey in the Tillabery region.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted on Tuesday that France would bolster security measures to protect its nationals in West Africa's Sahel region, without providing any details.

France has 5,100 troops deployed in the arid region south of the Sahara desert, but violence by jihadists linked to Islamic State and al Qaeda continues to rise.

A state of emergency had already been in place in parts of Tillabery to the north and west of Niamey, near the borders with Mali and Burkina Faso.

An affiliate of Islamic State has repeatedly carried out attacks in that zone, including one that killed four U.S. soldiers in 2017.

Niger's national security council announced late on Monday that it was extending the state of emergency to all of Tillabery, which extends more than 350 km (217 miles) south from the Malian border to the frontier with Benin.

The state of emergency empowers the government to impose security restrictions such as curfews and bans on the circulation of motorcyles, the jihadists' most common means of transport.

Niamey, which lies roughly in the middle of Tillabery, is an autonomous region and is not affected by the state of emergency.

The national security council also suspended access to the Koure reserve, home to West Africa's last sizeable population of giraffes in the wild, while an investigation proceeds.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor has also launched an investigation.

French charity ACTED, which employed the aid workers, said on Tuesday it had temporarily suspended its activities in Niger.

(Reporting by Boureima Balima; Additional reporting by Richard Lough and Paris Bureau; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Bate Felix, Barbara Lewis, William Maclean)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.