The Niger Republic military junta has reportedly commenced negotiations with terrorists as part of efforts to seek solutions to the country’s escalating insecurity.
According to Zagazola Makama, a counter-insurgency publication focused on the Lake Chad region, Abdourahmane Tchiani, Niger’s junta leader, has been seeking channels of discussion through his interior minister to begin negotiations with terrorist groups.
“As part of this strategy, 86 terrorists have been released from the anti-terrorist cell as well as other prisons, including those in Kollo (6) and Koutoukalé,” the publication reported on Saturday.
“Among the freed are notorious terrorist leaders such as Dandjou Aliou, Haroun Boubacar, Altini Bella, Kabirou Bazo, and others.”
However, this approach has been opposed by some members of Tiani’s cabinet who say it weakens the state’s position against terrorists.
Zagazola Makama added that the junta decided to deploy 535 repentant terrorists to the regions of Diffa, Tillabéri and Tahoua to fight insecurity.
The publication reports that a new alliance between the Islamic and Muslim Support Group (JNIM) and Islamic State in the Sahara (EIGS) — two militant groups — was concluded a few days ago.
The alliance aims to coordinate their actions from Niger’s south-west to the mid-west, covering the border areas with Burkina Faso, the three border areas, and the Malian border, emphasising the landlocked country’s deteriorating security situation.
Since seizing power from ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, the junta has failed to ensure stability in the country — one of the reasons they cited for Bazoum’s removal.