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18 Feb 2020 | 01:08 AM UTC

Niger: At least 20 refugees killed in stampede in Diffa February 17

Local officials confirm over a dozen fatalities due to a stampede in Diffa on February 17; associated protests possible in the near term

security
NER
NGA

Event

Local officials announced that at least 20 people died in a stampede at a refugee camp in Diffa (Diffa department) on Monday, February 17. According to media outlets, refugees from neighboring Nigeria were queuing for food and other aid supplied at a community center in Diffa when the incident took place that further injured approximately ten people.

Associated protests are possible in the region in the near term.

Context

Niger faces a high threat from terrorism, including armed attacks and abductions. Militant Islamist cells from various Nigerian and Malian terrorist groups - including Boko Haram, Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), and Al-Mourabitoun - are all active in the country. Northeastern Nigeria remains Boko Haram's stronghold and is host to most of the group's militant activity despite regional counterinsurgency efforts led by Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger since 2015. The Diffa region consequently hosts approximately 119,000 Nigerian refugees and 109,000 internally displaced people.

Advice

Individuals throughout Niger and its bordering regions should monitor the situation, and avoid any potential protest or demonstration as a precaution.

Many Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to areas located in the north and west of the country, including areas along the border with Burkina Faso, as well as areas along the Nigerian border to the south, due to the high risk of terrorist activity.