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Niger Bolsters Border Security after Boko Haram Attack

FILE - A Nigerien soldier takes a position during Flintlock 2014, a U.S.-led international training mission for African militaries, in Diffa, March 6, 2014.

A prominent member of the ruling Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya) says an investigation carried out by the country’s security officials unearthed a cache of weapons used by Boko Haram militants.

He says about 40 suspects linked to the Boko Haram militants have been arrested.

This, after the government imposed a curfew following a recent cross-border attack by Boko Haram militants in Diffa -- a town close to Niger’s border with neighboring Chad.

Sani Iro, the communications director for PNDS-Tarayya, says calm has returned to Diffa after more troops from the national army were deployed to the town who were then backed by Chadian soldiers.

“Since the [suspects] were arrested calm has come back to the area,” said Iro. “Niger military and Chad military have pushed Boko Haram out and now at the contingent of Niger troops are in Nigeria [to fight Boko Haram.]”

“Several months before the attack the government was really aware of the danger that was threatening this area,” said Iro.

“The government really [deployed] many soldiers down there and now there has been another military contingent that has been sent there with more than 3,000 Chadian soldiers that are in the same area now. So, with this joint action between our army and the Chadian army, really the place is now secured,” he added.

Thousands of Diffa residents left the area to Zinder fearing possible attacks by Boko Haram.

But, Iro said those displaced by the attacks have begun returning to their homes.

“The government has called on the people to remain calm. Now the army is controlling everything and up to now over 24 hours there has been nothing that can [scare] the people. So, now the [displacement] of the population has stopped completely. Nobody is leaving anymore in these places. So the government has really given the people assurance using the state media to call people to go back to their places and to be afraid anymore.”

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