What Happened: An attack by unidentified militants in southwestern Niger has killed two soldiers and injured five more, AFP reported Oct. 8.
Why It Matters: The attack was only the second of its kind in Niger's Dogondoutchi region, but violent assaults have been a persistent and growing problem in the country's western areas as well as neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso. Additional attacks pose a threat to security forces, aid workers and the civilian population, particularly if similar incidents spread to other countries in the region, such as Benin, Ghana, Togo and the Ivory Coast.
Background: Militant activity has been surging in the Sahel region since early 2018 and has been centered around Mali and Burkina Faso. Although local affiliates of al Qaeda and the Islamic State were responsible for many attacks, long-standing ethnic and tribal tensions and abuses by local security forces have considerably worsened the security environment.
- As Growing Militancy in the Sahel Encroaches, Can Niger Hold Strong? (July 19, 2019)
- Tracking Jihadist Movements in 2019: The Islamic State (Jan. 23, 2019)
- In the Sahel, a Counterterrorism Force Fights for More Than Funding (Dec. 22, 2017)