Niger, Nigeria border governors meet to tackle border violence

Four governors of neighbouring states of Niger and Nigeria on Sunday ended two days of talks to address the security situation along their shared border which is plagued by armed groups.

"The governors looked at the security situation in the border region of Maradi in (southeastern) Niger and Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara in (northwestern) Nigeria," a statement issued on Sunday said.

They also called for an "intensification of efforts to thwart" the actions of the groups through beefed up security.

According to the statement, the governors also recognised that there had been a "proliferation of arms, munitions and drugs" in the area.

Niamey increased surveillance of its border with Nigeria in 2018 in the face of violence by armed groups which triggered a wave of Nigerian refugees to Maradi in Niger.

Around 35 000 Nigerians sought refuge in Maradi, Niger's Prime Minister Brigi Rafini said last month.

In Niger, bandits have carried out kidnaps for ransom, attacked traders and made raids on livestock, according to Niger's interior ministry.

Between January 1 and August 31, 2019, authorities in Maradi recorded 31 people killed and 34 injured in 81 attacks by armed bandits.

At least 92 others were kidnapped and 3 036 heads of cattle taken by the attackers.

Border areas of northwestern Nigeria and southeastern Niger have also been exposed to years of killings and kidnappings at the hands of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.