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IMMINENT WARNING: NIGER JUNTA ALLEGES FRENCH INVOLVEMENT IN ATTACK TO FREE SUSPECTED TERRORIST

August 9, 2023

Dan Flanagan, Megan Khalife, Benedetta Bisaccia

Cameron Munoz, Senior Editor


Niger Location[1]


Event: On Wednesday, August 9, Colonel Mohamadou Abdramabne accused France of an attack that freed seven "terrorist suspects."[2] The attack also targeted the presidential guard; no casualties or injuries have been confirmed. Two suspects were apprehended, and Abdramabne said he had information concerning the operations planning and execution. According to him, 401, a French military aircraft, flew from Ndjamena yesterday and disrupted aerial contact in Niger for several hours. Abdramabne further accused France of taking part in destabilization techniques and cutting support from neighboring nations "to isolate the masses and create an atmosphere of insecurity."[3] Later in his address Abdramabne said the military would continue its mission of protecting the citizens and interests of Niger.[4]


Significance: The military junta will very likely refuse requests to present evidence to the public and depict France’s external interference as an infringement on Niger’s national interests. There is a roughly even chance the alleged attack is a false-flag operation that likely seeks to rally domestic support by capitalizing on anti-colonial French sentiment. Niger opposition figures will likely use the accusations against France to portray the junta as weak and ineffective. The junta’s actions likely reflect the influence of external support, such as Russia through the Wagner Group, very likely emboldening them to make public comments and accusations. The junta’s allegations will very likely strain relations with neighboring countries like Chad, where France operates freely, in the dispute over the incident. This maneuver is likely intended to destabilize Chad, creating internal discord, while also fostering anti-French sentiment and eroding support for France in the Sahel. Islamic groups will very likely increase operations in Niger by creating propaganda characterizing the newly formed junta as an oppressive regime and in the service of foreign powers. These groups infiltrating Niger will very likely reassess regional alliances and further security issues, likely encouraging the Wagner Group to increase its operations.


Recommendations

  • The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) recommends the Niger junta present all evidence implicating France in the attack to the public to demonstrate their commitment to transparency.

  • CTG recommends junta officials allow independent investigators access to the location of the attack to verify or discredit its authenticity.

  • CTG recommends that the Niger junta engage in diplomatic channels with French authorities to address these accusations and prevent further escalations.

  • CTG recommends the involved actors engage in diplomatic talks to de-escalate tensions and effectively debunk the accusations.

  • CTG recommends that international stakeholders, including regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations (UN), closely monitor and mediate the evolving situation in Niger.

  • CTG recommends Western intelligence agencies continue to monitor developments in Niger for Russian influence and terror organizations seeking to take advantage of the situation to infiltrate the country.

  • CTG recommends French citizens in Niger contact embassy officials to plan a safe exit from Niger.

  • CTG recommends using vetted news sources and fact-checking information that the Niger junta releases.

  • If there is any additional and or critical information, please contact us at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) by Telephone at 202-643-2848 or email at info@counterterrorismgroup.com.

 

[1] Niger by Google Maps

[2] Niger: Junta Accuses France of Attack on Presidential Guard, All Africa, August 2023, https://allafrica.com/stories/202308100306.html

[3] Ibid

[4] ibid

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