Niger's Council of Ministers announced on Tuesday, December 10, that the ongoing state of emergency is to be extended for a period of three months in the region of Diffa and in several departments of the Tillaberi and Tahoua regions.
According to the statement, the extension of the state of emergency, effective for a period of three months, started on Wednesday, December 18, for: Diffa region; Tillaberi region (departments of Ouallam, Ayorou, Bankilaré, Abala, Banibagou, Say, Torodi, and Téra); Tahoua region (departments of Tassara and Tillia).
For the Tillabéri and Gotheye departments (Tillaberi region), the state of emergency extension of three months began on Wednesday, December 25.
Under the state of emergency, security forces are granted additional powers, including the right to search homes at any given time.
Militants have been increasingly active along the Niger-Mali-Burkina Faso border areas, which each country's respective governments have had difficulty securing. Officials placed the Tillabéri region under a state of emergency in March 2017 due to an increase in attacks targeting refugee camps and security forces.
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.
On January 20, authorities adopted new security measures to better monitor militants' movements in the Tillaberi region such as the prohibition of motorcycles at all times, gas rationing to a maximum of 20 liters per person per day, and the closure of several markets known to be used as sources for food and petrol supply by jihadist militants.
Individuals throughout Niger should exercise vigilance when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted by an attack (e.g. government buildings, prominent hotels, etc.) and report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities. 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.