• Crisis Severity ?
    3.9
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    4.1
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    3.7
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    4.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    4.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 23,800,000 Total population [?]
  • 3,821,000 People in Need [?]
  • 3,648,000 Moderate humanitarian conditions - Level 3 [?]
  • 173,000 Severe humanitarian conditions - Level 4 [?]

Overview

30/10/2020

Insecurity stemming from crises in neighbouring countries impacts populations in Niger. In Diffa region, where a state of emergency has been in place since 2015, Boko Haram continues to carry out sporadic attacks on civilians and against the authorities, whilst around 168,000 Nigerian refugees have crossed the border seeking safety in Niger.?Cross-border violence and intercommunal tensions also affect Tillaberi and Tahoua regions, leading to significant population displacement. ?Since September 2018, the Burkina Faso border area has seen increasing attacks by jihadist armed groups against the local population and authorities, leading to States of Emergency declared in several departments. ?

INFORM measures Niger's risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be high, at 6.7/10. Lack of coping capacity and vulnerability are of particular concern at 7.6/10 and 6.8/10 respectively.?

Latest Developments

08/12/2021

At least 11,500 people, mostly women and children, fled villages in ​​Sabon Birni LGA (Sokoto State, Nigeria) to Tahoua region (Niger) following three days of attacks in mid November that including killing, looting, and destruction of crops. The refugees are hosted in 26 villages in the rural commune of Bangui, which has been hosting 3,500 Nigerian refugees since September. The newly displaced need food assistance, WASH, shelter, and medical care. Violence causing displacement and insecurity in Sokoto state has been rising in 2021. Between September and November there were 35 incidents of violence involving attacks by armed gunmen and abductions and 229 fatalities, compared with 5 incidents and fatalities in the comparable period of 2020.?

Access Constraints

07/12/2021

VERY High constraints

Humanitarian access constraints are still very high in Niger. The presence of non-state armed groups in the Tahoua and Tillabéri regions (in the border area with Burkina Faso and Mali), Diffa region, and Maradi region (at the border with Nigeria) makes these areas particularly difficult to access. Access to services for the population remains very limited in affected areas. The looting of health facilities and ambulance thefts, in addition to threats against health workers, have led to the closure of many health centres and hospitals.

Measures restricting freedom of movement related to the state of emergency imposed by the national authorities mainly in the Diffa, Tahoua, and Tillabéri regions continue to limit access to services. In Tillabéri, the ban on the use of motorcycles by local authorities in certain departments and communes remains a constraint for both the population and humanitarian organisations. The presence of armed groups influences the movement of humanitarian staff, who oftentimes need to pay fees to access territories. Local authorities do not allow access to certain communes of the Diffa region (Bosso, Gueskerou, Toumour) given numerous attacks by non-state armed groups, considerably reducing humanitarian access in the Lake Chad Basin.

Humanitarian activities are often suspended by local authorities, who restrict access to certain areas because of military operations against armed groups. The requirement for humanitarian organisations to be escorted by the army on all movements outside urban roads sometimes leads to the suspension of certain activities. Humanitarian access becomes particularly hampered during the rainy season (June–September) as a result of recurrent flooding, especially in the Maradi and Tillabéri regions.

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

Risk

An increase in attacks targeting civilians leads to displacement and further deterioration of humanitarian conditions in the Tillabéri region Latest update: 26/10/2021

Probability

Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

Impact

Very low Moderate Major

Rationale

Between January–August 2021, at least 424 civilians were killed in the northern Tillabéri region of Niger, in the border area with Mali and Burkina Faso. Such toll is higher than the number of civilian casualties in all of 2020?. With the loss of land and personnel in central Mali during 2020, following Barkhane forces’ airstrikes and clashes with the Support Group for Islam and Muslims, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) group began taking control of territories in western Niger?. In this drive, the group started conducting attacks against national armed forces and civilians?.

While the ISGS used to spare civilians, hoping to gain their sympathy, in 2021 the group started conducting more violent attacks on civilians, particularly community leaders, to force their communities to pay the zakat2 . These attacks became particularly frequent from January, when villagers in northern Tillabéri, mainly belonging to the Djerma ethnic group, began organising themselves into self-defence groups in response to the zakat extortion?.

Attacks targeting civilians in northern Tillabéri are likely to increase, also because of the ethnic dimension of this conflict. The ISGS often recruits fighters among impoverished pastoralists, mainly from the Fulani community, who see recruitment as their only source of income. Pre-existing tensions between Fulani and Djerma communities, instrumentalised by ISGS in its quest to expand its area of control, risk fuelling a cycle of retaliation on an ethnic basis. Reprisals from certain communities against civilians perceived as belonging to the rival ethnic group are already taking place and are likely to escalate.

The very irregular presence of national and international security forces in Tillabéri — especially following the recent partial withdrawal of Nigerien troops from insecure military posts in Tillabéri — creates an opportunity for increased violence against civilians?.

Impact

The increase in violence against civilians will likely displace around 10,000 to 20,0003 people, adding to the 100,000 IDPs already registered in the Tillabéri region?. Threats from armed groups will force inhabitants to leave their villages, increasing population movements to areas less affected by the attacks, such as Tillabéri town and other regions of Niger. People’s access to health, WASH, education services, land, and humanitarian aid — which already presents high constraints — risks deteriorating further because of the expansion of armed groups into areas previously free from armed presence and military operations. People living near the border with Mali will likely have restricted access to their fields because of security threats on the road and fear of being attacked by ISGS members. Merchants and traders will likely face heightened difficulties in accessing markets given recurring attacks targeting people travelling to markets. Potentially, this will worsen food security and livelihoods. Banibangou department risks being particularly affected as levels of conflict are already high, and in at least 80% of all localities, people do not have access to sufficient food?. As most of the region’s inhabitants do not have access to water, and some must travel long distances to reach a water point, insecurity and humanitarian access constraints will likely increase WASH needs?. ISGS members’ cattle thefts and imposition of taxes likely will further reduce livelihoods.

 

 

Read this risk

Key priorities

05/02/2021

Food security: Conflict along the Lake Chad Basin, namely in Maradi, Tahoua, and Tillabéri regions, has limited households’ capacity to meet their food and nutrition needs. Floods during the 2020 rainy season destroyed or damaged crops, reducing the agricultural output. COVID-19 restrictions continue to limit seasonal migration, which is affecting livelihoods.

WASH: Lack of access to WASH infrastructure remains a concern for both displaced and local populations. Floods and disease outbreaks, especially cholera, are driving WASH needs across the country.

Protection: Protection incidents, including cattle theft, violence, kidnapping, and the presence of IEDs, continue to be reported in Diffa, Maradi, Tahoua, and Tillabéri regions, where armed groups are active. There are not enough services to respond to the population's GBV concerns, and access to these limited services is sometimes difficult. A lack of proper documentation and land rights disputes during displacement and return represent major protection concerns in Niger.?

Conflict in the Sahel

12/12/2019

In 2019 the border area shared by Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali, known as Liptako Gourma, saw a rise in intercommunal violence and jihadist activities. Across the region, security incidents were recorded on an almost daily basis, increasingly resulting in civilian casualties. Armed groups have continued to expand their frontlines while authorities struggle to contain the crisis, including widespread displacement and civil discontent.

Read the full narrative here.