Niger. Migration through Niger via Libya to Europe was a
major political issue during the year. The EU stepped up
efforts for Niger to curb the flow of hundreds of thousands
of people north.
Countryaah.com, the EU had allocated over SEK 5 billion to strengthen
schooling, food supply, agriculture, infrastructure,
democracy and the judiciary and to combat human trafficking,
strengthen border controls and address root causes of
migration with jobs. However, according to President
Mahamadou Issoufou, Niger would need the double effort only
to deal with migration.
There were concerns that tougher border controls were
driving people on new invisible and more dangerous routes.
During the year, many dead migrants were found along desert
roads. In northern Niger, 44 thirsty migrants died after
their vehicles were left standing. Children and women were
among the victims. On another occasion, 52 dead migrants
were found. The desert town of Agadez was a center for the
smuggling of people, weapons and drugs.
According to EU estimates, more migrants die in the
desert than in the Mediterranean. However, in August it was
reported that in four months, around 1,000 migrants had been
rescued after being left by human smugglers.
In November, it was reported that over 500 people were
liberated through efforts in Niger, Mali, Mauritania,
Senegal and Chad. Nearly half were children. About 40 people
smugglers were arrested, and they were suspected of forcing
victims into prostitution and begging.
At the International Migration Summit in Paris in August,
the Nigerian President stressed that poverty is behind
migration and human trafficking. Trade or agriculture must
be developed so that human smugglers receive alternative
livelihoods, said Issoufou, who appealed to Europe for more
A study from the UN Development Program UNDP conducted in
Niger, among others, found that poverty, unemployment and
marginalization are also important causes of extremism among
young Africans who join groups such as Boko Haram.
The humanitarian disaster situation prevailed in the area
around Lake Chad, where the ravages of the Boko Haram terror
group continued. Over 10 million people were estimated to be
in need of urgent help in Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria.
Around a fourth were on the run from fighting, drought and
food shortages. A donor conference was held in Oslo, where
14 countries pledged the equivalent of SEK 6 billion in
disaster relief. Sweden led UN Security Council
representatives on a trip to refugee camps in Niger and
neighboring countries to focus the world on the crisis.
The UN stated that more than half of school children in
some parts of Niger left school when their families were
forced to relocate in search of new livestock.
Many people lost their lives during the year in armed
attacks in various parts of the country, and the government
introduced emergency permits in certain areas. The
government forces also killed a large number of suspected
members of Boko Haram.
In July, 14 unarmed peasants in the southeast were
reportedly killed by government soldiers, who took them to
be Boko Haram members. The peasants were in a military
protection zone where civilians should not move. In October,
four Nigerian and four US soldiers were killed in an ambush
in southwest Niger. Not far from there, at least 13 people
were later killed in an attack on a semi-military police
During the year, mass trials were initiated against about
1,000 suspected members of the Boko Haram jihadi movement.
The defendants were from several countries, including Niger,
Mali and Nigeria. They were suspected of terror-related
Former head of government and President Hama Amadou were
sentenced in their absence to one year in prison accused of
smuggling infants. Amadou's wife and another 20 people
received the same verdict. According to Amadou's lawyer, the
verdict was politically motivated and intended to stop
Amadou from running in the next election.
The World Bank and Save the Children came in October with
a report on child marriage in the world. Niger is one of the
worst countries, where three out of four girls are given
away before they turn legal.