Niger extends emergency measures against Boko Haram



Niger’s government has extended a state of emergency in southeastern territory for three months because of the deadly danger from Boko Haram Islamists based in neighbouring Nigeria, state television reported Thursday.

“The security situation in the Diffa region remains alarming because of the high level of threat due to attacks by Boko Haram,” said a cabinet statement read on state television.

A state of emergency gives special powers to the security forces. The measure first took effect in February 2015 and has been renewed several times.

Boko Haram’s stronghold is in northeast Nigeria, across the border from Niger, and the risk of attack heightened when troops from Niger and Chad pulled out of the Nigerian towns of Malam Fatori and Damasack after driving out jihadist fighters. The Islamists returned once the soldiers were gone.

Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria have set up a joint task force to fight Boko Haram of 8,500 men, which has forced the hardline Islamist movement to cut back its attacks, without eradicating it.

But Wednesday, Nigerian General Lamidi Adeosun, the commander of the regional military coalition, said the international community had been very slow in following up on pledges of support.

“If anything has been given at all, it’s a measure of communication equipment and some 11 vehicles — that is what assistance so far we have received in concrete terms,” Adeosun said during a visit to Niger’s capital Niamey.

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