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Country Reports
Niger, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Mine Ban Policy

Niger signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997, ratified on 23 March 1999, and became a State Party on 1 September 1999. Niger reported in March 2003 that implementation legislation was in the process of adoption.[1] In May 2003, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told Landmine Monitor that national implementation legislation should be adopted by the time of the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in September 2003.[2]

The National Commission for the Collection and Control of Illegal Weapons is in charge of the landmine issue.[3] Niger submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report on 12 September 2002, and an annual updated report on 31 March 2003.[4]

Niger attended intersessional Standing Committee meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty in February and May 2003 and sponsored, but was absent from the vote on the UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74 on 22 November 2002, supporting the universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Niger has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines. In its September 2002 Article 7 Report, Niger reported that it had no stockpile of antipersonnel mines, including for training purposes.[5]

In its March 2003 report, Niger indicates that since May 2001, it has destroyed 48 antipersonnel mines, 65 antipersonnel detonators, 34 antitank mines, and five antitank detonators.[6] It reports a stockpile of 1,006 antitank mines of Polish, Belgian, and Russian origin and 146 French “éclairant” mines. It intends to retain 949 of the antitank mines, as well as the 146 French mines. It reports that 57 Russian and Belgian antitank mines have been transferred for the purpose of destruction.[7]

Landmine Problem

Niger's landmine problem dates back to World War II and more recently to an armed conflict between the government and Touareg and Toubou rebel groups.

According to information provided in the Article 7 Report, there are four known mine-affected areas in Niger: the Djado Plateau (Axe Chirfa, Dao-Timi), the Talak Plains (district of Boukoki-Arlit and district of Teguidan in Taqait), the Mangueni Plateau (Achelouma), and Massif de l’Aïr (Abardok).[8] The regions are sparsely inhabited.[9] Other areas are suspected to be mine-affected in Plateau du Karama, Plateau du Tchigaï, Massif d’Afafi and the region of Emi Fezzan.

Niger has not conducted mine clearance due to a lack of resources and expertise. It is seeking international mine action assistance, especially for a survey of the affected areas.[10]

Landmine Casualties and Survivor Assistance

No new mine casualties were reported in 2002, but on 3 January 2003, three Italian tourists were killed and their local guide injured when their vehicle detonated an antivehicle mine in Orida, on the Djado plateau in the north of the country.[11]

Niger, for the first time, provided information on mine casualties at the February 2003 intersessional Standing Committee meetings. At an unspecified date in the 1980s, several people were killed and injured after a military vehicle hit an antivehicle mine on Karama plateau. On 24 September 1997, five people were killed when their vehicle hit a mine in Chirfa-Dao Tihi. Several incidents were reported in November 1997, including one person killed and five others injured after their jeep hit a mine in Teguidon. In Tagaït, about twenty people were killed or injured by mines in the vicinity of the village of Abardok, in the center of Niger. In 1998, a driver was injured after his truck hit an antivehicle mine in Achelouma in the north of the country.[12]

Niger’s health care infrastructure is reportedly in poor condition, due to a lack of resources. Physical rehabilitation programs are available, but often inaccessible for the poor and for inhabitants of remote parts of the country.[13]

[1] Article 7 Report, Form A, 31 March 2003.
[2] Interview with Hama Kansaye Souleyman, Chief of UN Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Major Adamou Garva, Chief of Battalion, Ministry of Defense, Geneva, 12 May 2003.
[3] Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 384.
[4] Article 7 Report, 31 March 2003 (for the period May 2001 to 31 March 2003); Article 7 Report, 12 September 2002 (for the period April 2001-July 2002). The 2003 report obtained by Landmine Monitor is hand-written.
[5] Article 7 Report, Form B, 12 September 2002.
[6] Article 7 Report, Form G, 31 March 2003.
[7] Article 7 Report, Forms B and D, 31 March 2003.
[8] Article 7 Report, Form C, 31 March 2003. The report was handwritten and the spelling difficult to read in places.
[9] Statement by Col. Maï Moctar Kassouma, President of the National Commission for the Collection and Control of Illegal Weapons, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, Geneva, 5 February 2003; Article 7 Report, Form C, 12 September 2002.
[10] Article 7 Report, last paragraph, 12 September 2002; Statement by Col. Maï Moctar Kassouma, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, 5 February 2003; Interview with Hama Kansaye Souleyman, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Major Adamou Garva, Ministry of Defense, 12 May 2003.
[11] “Three Italian tourists killed when jeep hits mine in northwestern Niger,” Agence France Presse, 4 January 2003; Statement by Col. Maï Moctar Kassouma, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, 5 February 2003.
[12] Statement by Col. Maï Moctar Kassouma, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, 5 February 2003.
[13] Handicap International, “Landmine Victim Assistance: World Report 2002,” Lyon, December 2002, p. 393.