Niger. In January, nine militants and one civilian were sentenced to between 5 and 15 years in prison for coup attempt against President Mahamadou Issoufou two years earlier. The government claimed that there were plans to arrest the president and the chief of the bodyguard. The coup’s alleged leader, General Salou Souleymane, was sentenced to 15 years. According to the opposition, there was no convincing evidence of the charges.
According to Countryaah.com, Niamey is the capital city of Niger, a country located in Western Africa. The EU decided to double its support for Niger and its neighboring countries in the fight against Islamists and refugee smugglers taking people across the Mediterranean to Europe. The equivalent of SEK 4 billion was promised at a conference in Brussels with the EU, UN, AU and USA and others. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that work to stop what she described as illegal migration from Africa to Europe must begin in countries such as Niger, Mali and Chad.
In May, the International Migration Organization (IOM) rescued nearly 400 migrants stranded in northern Niger without food and almost without water. Several thousand people were taken care of in similar ways during the year.
While Europeans were focused on migration, Niger primarily saw the need for support in the fight against terrorism. President Issoufou said in Brussels that the promised support must come quickly, as Islamic State (IS) terrorists driven away from Libya and Syria are now operating in the Sahel region.
At least five people were killed and several injured when terrorists attacked a market in Toummour in southeast Niger in March. The terror group Boko Haram suspects are behind. In April, a German relief worker was kidnapped near the Mali border. In June, at least ten people were killed near the border with Nigeria when suicide bombers attacked a mosque at the end of the month of Ramadan. Six soldiers were also killed in the area, and Boko Haram said he was behind. Later in the year, an Italian priest was kidnapped near the border with Burkina Faso.
In March, IS released in a propaganda channel a video of an attack in Niger the year before when some 50 terrorists killed nine Nigerian and US soldiers. The film found in one of the dead soldiers’ helmets showed how the attackers had grenades and automatic weapons, but the soldiers only lightly armed.
During the year, the US military built an air base outside Agadez in Niger to be used for armed drones against terrorists.
When the opposition protested against tax increases, more than 20 protesters were arrested in the capital Niamey after violent clashes with police. The arrested were sentenced to prison accused of rioting, four of whom were leading opposition activists.
A cholera epidemic broke out in the Maradi region of southern Niger. In August, it was reported that nearly 1,000 people were affected and 13 people died in the disease. The children were particularly vulnerable. Heavy rain and flooding made it difficult to stop the spread of the epidemic.
By the end of August, at least 36 people had died in floods and more than 130,000 had left their homes. Farmland had been submerged, cattle had drowned and water was polluted as the Niger River flooded after heavy rains.
According to a report from the United Nations Population Fund, women in Niger have the highest fertility rate in the world. In the Nigerian countryside, every woman gives birth to an average of more than eight children and half the population in the country is under 15 years of age.
This year’s alternate Nobel Prize, the Right Livelihood Award, went to Yacouba Sawadogo, the man who stopped the desert. He has transformed thousands of hectares of dry land in Niger and Burkina Faso into fertile land using ancient agricultural methods.