Niger. In one of the biggest corruption scandals in Niger’s history, two ministers were dismissed for embezzling the equivalent of about SEK 13 million. of aid money that would have been used for educational projects. Parliament decided to set up a special court to investigate the two.
According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Niger include Independence Day (August 3) and New Year (January 1). The publisher and editor-in-chief of the magazine Le Républicain was sentenced to prison for 18 months and each SEK 70,000. in fines for an article that was deemed to have offended the Prime Minister. The head of government had been accused of safeguarding more about good relations with Iran than with the western world and not paying enough attention to human rights issues.
On one day in June, the capital, Niamey, was hit by a strike in protest against the poor access to community services such as education, health care and water for the majority of the population.
In October, the government announced that up to 150,000 nomads originally from Chad several decades ago would be deported to their homeland. The reason was said to be the competition for water in southeastern Niger and the impact of livestock herds on nature. After agitated reactions, the order was changed to only about 4,000 people and was subsequently withdrawn completely. But then the army was said to have driven thousands into the desert without their animals and their fate was uncertain.
Niger has since 2013 become a hub for France and the United States warfare in Africa. Both countries use an air base outside Niamey as the center for their drone flights over Mali, Libya and Chad. The close cooperation dates back to 2001, when the United States launched its global “war on terror”. Already at this time Niger was given an important role to play in the activities of the superpower in the Sahel.
Throughout 2013, Niger sought to get a better deal with French group Areva, which mined the country’s uranium. Areva did not claim to be able to afford, but the group’s turnover of $ 13 billion. The US $ in 2013 was twice as large as Niger’s GDP, and while group revenue increased year by year, Niger remained equally poor. The country therefore tried to increase its royalties from 5.5% to 12%, which was closer to the 13% Areva paid in Canada, but still a good deal from the 18.5% the group paid in Kazakhstan. Areva responded in December 2013 by suspending production to put pressure on Niger.
In mid-January 2015, police stormed four news organizations and physically assaulted at least 8 reporters. This happened in connection with demonstrations against Charlie Hebdo’s drawings in France and a demonstration organized by the opposition. Just a week before, President Issoufou had gone hand-in-hand with the French president and demonstrated freedom of expression. Reporters Without Borders protested against the attacks on Nigerian media. During the demonstrations, at least 10 people were killed.
That same month, the UNHCR warned against repatriating Nigerian refugees who had sought refuge in Niger. In addition, the situation in Nigeria was too dangerous because of Boko Haram’s massacres.
Boko Haram stepped up its military activity in the Diffa region in the country’s southeast corner towards Nigeria and Lake Chad. The organization conducted at least 20 attacks during 2015, costing 190 civilians and 60 members of the security forces life. Niger’s military again responded with a vengeance attack. In February, it bombed trucks carrying smoked fish to Nigeria. A trade that is prohibited according to. the state of emergency, as the government believes there are deliveries to Boko Haram. That same month, a plane bombed a burial ground in the village Abadam-Niger at the border with Nigeria. It cost 36 lives. In September, the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern about both Boko Haram’s and the Nigerian army’s attacks on civilians. In addition to the state of emergency, the government went on attacks on human rights organizations, journalists and closed several newspapers. At the same time, the humanitarian refugee disaster worsened. By the end of the year, there were 115,000 Nigerian refugees in the country. In January and May, the government had expelled thousands of refugees to Nigeria after allegations that they brought Boko Haram’s attack into Niger. At the end of the year, there were 100,000 internally displaced people in Niger.