Niger Risk Report
Security travel advice for Niger
Threat level: High
Visits to Niger are very high risk, this poverty ridden country suffers heavily from crime and terrorism alike. Groups like The Movement for Unity, Jihad in West Africa and Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb operate in the border areas of northern Mali, Niger, Algeria and Libya. Western travellers have been subject to kidnappings in the past.
It is advised that you only travel within Niger with a Close Protection team. If you are travelling to the country for business purposes, it is your employer’s duty of care to ensure the correct security measures are in place for the entire duration of your trip.
Recent Security Events
In January 2017 Boko Haram Militants killed three soldiers and wounded many others in an attack on a military base in southeast Niger.
In 2015, Nigerien and Chadian police were attacked by the terrorist group Boko Haram in a large scale operation. The fighting happened in the towns of Bosso and Diffa and 2 days after there was an explosion in the town of Diffa, resulting in several deaths and many more seriously injured.
Multiple Islamist terrorist organisations have recently launched attacks in Agadez and Arlit. Foreign nationals are at a particular high level of risk from terrorist attacks. Exercise a high level of vigilance during travel in Niger. It is highly advised you do not travel to the north of the city of Abalak, including the Aïr Massif region and also the Tahoua province.
Armed bandits and smugglers often operate in many parts of Niger, especially the border areas. The border area with Nigeria south of Zinder is particularly high risk of armed bandits. You should avoid travel after dark and travel in a convoy when possible.
The capital Niamey has very high rates of crime. Thefts, robberies and residential break-ins are common not just in the capital but throughout the whole of the country. The areas around the Gaweye Hotel, National Museum and Petit Marché are known areas where pick pockets operate in high numbers. You should take sensible precautions against crime in Niger, avoid carrying large sums of cash on you, don’t travel by foot at night and don’t have expensive jewellery on display.
Travelling out of Tahoua or other major cities like Niamey to other parts of Niger in the east and the north is highly advised against for all foreign nationals. Anyone travelling to Niger should take the terror threat seriously. The MNJ armed group has launched a number of recent attacks in the north including the use of land mines and improvised explosive devices.
Niger is a member of the United Nations. The country maintains strong diplomatic relationships with France, its former colonial power, and enjoys close relations with its West African neighbours. Niger has a total of 24 permanent embassies abroad.
You can only drive in Niger with an international driving licence, this is valid for 3 months, after which you will need to apply for a Niger driving licence. The standard of driving among locals is very poor and many drive in a very aggressive manor. Roads are not maintained and are often impassable during the rainy season from May until August.
Be wary of the risk of landmines throughout Niger. It is advised you do not veer off the main roads and seek advice from local guides and law enforcement when travelling to unfamiliar areas.
Niger has some issues in certain areas of their borders with Burkina Faso and Mali, disputes are still ongoing. You should avoid travel within 30km of these areas.
Currency: West African CFA Franc
Time now in Niamey:
To enter Niger, a passport valid for six months is required. Most nationalities will have to apply for a visa in advance to travel, the cost of which is £120 for a single entry visa.
It is advised that visitors to Niger are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus, Hepatitis A and Yellow Fever vaccinations as there is a risk of infection in some areas of the country.
The vaccination is recommended for visitors planning to travel south of the Sahara Desert at any point in their trip. It is not necessary if the trip only involves areas in the Sahara Desert. You should check with your local health professional prior to your departure as the yellow fever vaccine is not suitable for all travellers.
Other health risks
Medical facilities are poor in all areas of Niger, even in Niamey. Serious medical treatment would require evacuation to Europe. Ensure you have adequate medical health insurance that covers the cost of medical evacuation.
You should consider anti malarial medication and other preventative measure all year round in Niger. In 2015 there were also some isolated cases of the measles.
Telephone: +227 20 72 26 61
Emergency telephone: +227 99 49 90 66
The British government does not have an Embassy in Niger. All Consular work is carried out by the British Embassy in Bamako, Mali.
British Embassy Bamako
Cité du Niger II
Telephone: +223 44 97 69 13
Other useful info
Police emergency: 17
Fire emergency: 18
Medical emergency: 15