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Country Reports
NIGER, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Niger signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997. Niger participated in few meetings of the Ottawa Process and did not endorse the Brussels Declaration. It did support the 1996, 1997 and 1998 UN General Assembly resolutions. On 29 November 1998, the National Assembly passed a law authorizing the government to ratify the ban and, on 23 March 1999, Niger ratified. There is no domestic implementation legislation as yet. Niger is a party to the CCW and ratified the original Protocol II on landmines on 10 November 1992. It has yet to ratify amended Protocol II.

Niger is not believed to be involved in the production or export of antipersonnel mines. It can be assumed that the Nigérien armed forces hold stockpiles of antipersonnel mines, though government officials have been evasive on this topic.[1] Sporadic military activity by Tuareg and other rebel groups and a prevailing state of near-war in much of the north and east, have tended to reinforce military secrecy as far as the army's arsenal is concerned. This lack of transparency makes it difficult to estimate the quantity, origins and characteristics of the army's weaponry .

There are persistent allegations that the Army used antipersonnel mines in the far north of Niger during the Tuareg insurgency of 1990-96.[2] Non-state actors were also involved in the laying of AP mines until both warring parties signed the peace agreements.[3] Rebel activity against the Army persists in the far north and the east, near Diffa.[4]

Niger has a problem with uncleared landmines in the far north of the country—the legacy of mine-laying activity during the World War II.[5] Nigérien sources claim these mines were originally placed on Libyan soil during WWII, near the frontier with Niger, but shifted over the border due to the slow movement of sand dunes over the decades.[6] Lack of statistics makes it difficult to be certain of the scale of this. Few civilians are affected: the Aïr and Ténéré areas are very sparsely populated.

The exact number of mine victims is unknown. Nevertheless, according to investigations by the Association nigérienne de défense des droits de l'Homme (ANDDH) it has been documented that during the government-Tuareg conflict three mine victims died in the region of Agadez-Tanout and another person died in the area of Tchiro. According to a 1998 US State Department report, Hidden Killers, eleven landmine casualties were reported in Niger in 1997.[7] Due to the information blackout on the issue and the relative isolation of the mined areas, these figures are probably far from exhaustive.[8] Niger is not involved in mine clearance, survey and assessment work, or mine awareness education. Neither is Niger involved in landmine victim or survivor assistance.


[1]LM Researcher interviews with Nigérien military and diplomatic personnel, Niamey and Paris, February and March 1999.

[2]This observation is based upon discussions with the Association nigérienne pour la défense des droits de l'homme (ANDDH) and certain ex-members of the Organisation de resistance armée (ORA), the Tuareg-led umbrella group of insurgent groups during the later phase of the rebellion. In addition, UK-based Franco-phone Africa specialist journalist Andrew Manley met on several occasions in mid-1994 with Nigérien Tuareg insurgents who had been evacuated to Paris by French sympathisers, for corrective surgery and aftercare for landmine-related injuries. They testified that these had been inflicted by unmarked minefields in combat zones in the Nigérien north, and that the mines had been laid by the Nigérien armed forces.


[4]"Tension in Central Sahara,” U.N. Integrated Regional Information Network, 18 March 1999.

[5]Recontre Africaine pour la Defense des Droits de l'Homme (Raddho) and African Topics, Media Workshop, Dakar, Senegal, 3 November 1997; and Union Interafrican des droits de l’Homme and International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Inter-African NGO Seminar on Landmines, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 3-5 June 1998.

[6]LM Researcher interviews with Nigérien military personnel, Niamey and Paris, February and March 1999.

[7]U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers: The Global Landmine Crisis (Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 1998) p. A-4.

[8]See footnote 2.