Niger in the face of the Sahelo-Saharan Islamic Insurgency

The wave of recent Islamic insurgencies in Nigeria, Mali, Algeria, and Libya has embroiled the Sahel region in an unprecedented crisis. Encircled by these crises on its borders, and afflicted by structural weaknesses including continuous political and institutional instability, deep economic distress, and a recurring Tuareg rebellion, Niger has unexpectedly succeeded in maintaining some degree of stability. As opposed to the other countries on the frontlines of the crisis, Niger has not developed indigenous cells of jihadists or lost control of its territory to the jihadists. The impacts of the crisis on Niger are limited to kidnapping, sporadic attacks, and heightened political debates between the government, the political parties, the civil society, and the religious leaders. Niger’s resilience could be explained by a long history of de-politicization of religion, the experience of dealing with previous Tuareg insurgencies, and an operational and fairly organized army. While Niger has been resilient so far, multiple threats still challenge its stability, including the spread of Boko Haram’s ideology among Nigerien youths, the return of Nigerien fighters from Mali and Libya, and the overall deterioration of security in the region.


Read the paper

Yahaya Ibrahim StakesNiger