Overview: Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) continued to exploit ungoverned space in Nigerien territory. It took advantage of porous borders and the huge expanse of Niger not under government control to conduct contraband smuggling and kidnappings. Niger was committed to fighting AQIM and worked with other regional partners and organizations to support its counterterrorism efforts, notably the General Staff Joint Operations Committee (CEMOC), which also included Algeria, Mali, and Mauritania.

2010 Terrorist Incidents: Niger continued to be a victim of AQIM attacks, including kidnappings and anti-government operations:

  • In January, two local residents reported that two vehicles allegedly carrying AQIM-affiliated personnel were spotted in northwestern Niger looking for Westerners to kidnap. A Nigerien patrol sent to the area was attacked and the perpetrators fled towards the Mali-Niger border. Hunted by a Nigerien security force, 15 AQIM members were eventually killed, along with four Nigerien soldiers.

  • On March 8, in what was believed to be a revenge attack for the January clash, AQIM attacked a Nigerien armed forces forward-operating post with a vehicle bomb, mortars, heavy machine guns, and small arms. Five Nigerien soldiers died in the attack.

  • On April 22, a French humanitarian worker, Michel Germaneau, was kidnapped in northern Niger, taken across the border into Mali, and murdered three months later in apparent retaliation for French support of Mauritanian counterterrorism operations in northern Mali.

  • On September 16, five French nationals, one Togolese, and one Malagasy, all sub-contracted employees of the French uranium mining firm Areva, were kidnapped in Arlit. Nigerien forces followed the tire tracks to the border with Mali. AQIM claimed responsibility for the kidnappings.

Countering Terrorist Finance: In January, Niger passed a law implementing the International Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. In July, Niger created the National Coordinating Committee on the Fight against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. Niger is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body.

Regional and International Cooperation: Niger cooperated with U.S. counterterrorism efforts and is a Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership country. Over the past year, Niger has entered into a partnership to establish and conduct operations with Mali, Algeria, and Mauritania out of the CEMOC center in Tamanrasset, Algeria. In September, after the kidnapping in Arlit, Niger agreed to permit French forces to conduct surveillance operations in Niamey.


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