Niger to Increase Security for Foreign Aid Workers

A member of the armed forces of Niger stands next to a mobile medical unit during a humanitarian mission by the United States. Niger's military government plans to increase security for foreign aid workers in the country. Photo by: Keith Walker / U.S. Air Force

Niger’s military government said it would increase security for foreign aid workers who were reportedly receiving threats from groups with ties to al-Qaida.

Security officials in the Maradi region, where most the threats appear to be focused on, have taken additional measures to protect international aid workers, an official of the region said, according to Voice of America.

Col. Garba Maikido, Maradi’s governor, explained that upon learning of the threats, the government took immediate action to identify the nationalities of foreign aid workers in the region and provide them with additional security.

As Devex reported, the World Food Program and several aid agencies have evacuated some of their foreign staff from Maradi and Zindar, in the eastern part of the country, because of security threats. The evacuation could undermine international response to Niger’s worsening food crisis, some aid workers said.

But the U.N. said Aug. 19 that relief operations to feed the millions of hungry people in Niger were not disrupted by the security scare or the evacuation of some foreign staff.

“We have been assured that precautions have been taken at a regional level so that we can work … U.N. agencies involved in the relief effort are on the ground and working normally,” said Khardiata Lo N’Diaye, coordinator of U.N. agencies in the African nation, according to Reuters.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.