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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Tuareg in Niger

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Date(s) Item
1946 Since the Tuareg chose to remain aloof from politics in 1946, their group interests were neglected. The overall picture is that of a society on the defensive and in a state of gradual decline.
Jul 1958 The Sawaba (Freedom) Party (also called the Union Nigerienne Democratique, UND) was established as the Niger section of the federalist Parti du Regroupment Africain (PRA). The Party represented the ruling parties in Dahomey (Benin), Niger, and Senegal.
1959 The Sawaba Party led by Djibo Bakary, was defeated by an alliance dominated by the Rassemblement Democratique Africain (RDA), or the Niger Progressive Party (NPP), led by Hamani Diori.
Dec 1959 The Sawaba Party was officially dissolved and its leader Bakary exiled to Guinea. Since then, Sawaba members continued their opposition activity from abroad.
Aug 3, 1960 The country (formerly part of the French West Africa Federation) became independent. The banning of the Sawaba Party in 1959 led Niger to a one-party state under the NPP.
1964 Sawaba elements were blamed for guerrilla actions near the Nigerian border. Seven people were subsequently publicly executed for terrorism.
1965 An unsuccessful attempt on Diori's life was followed by harsh repression.
1967 Although the initial Diori cabinet tended to favor the Djerma-Songhai, the public policy was redressed with an increase in the number of Hausa ministers by 1967.
1974 As a result of the prolonged drought of 1968-74, Diori was ousted by a military coup led by Lt. Col. Seyni Kountche.
Apr 1974 The Constitution was suspended following a military coup. A Supreme Military Council (CMS) assumed power under the leadership of Lt.-Col. Seyni Kountche. President Hamani Diori was kept in detention until April 1980. He was then held under house arrest until he being released under an amnesty declared on 14 April 1984. Djibo Bakary, leader of the Sawaba Party, was granted permission to return to Niger by the Military Council on condition of not engaging in any political activities. After the coup, political parties were banned. The president of the Supreme Military Council, Kountche, served as head of state.
Aug 2, 1975 There was a resurgence of political activity following Bakary's return. Bakary and Maj. Sani Saydou were arrested for "attempting to divide the people and to set up an ideological clique with the object of seizing power." They were not released from detention until April 1980. They were then kept under house arrest until 14 April 1984 when they were granted amnesty. The Kountche period coincided with a striking rise in Niger's economic fortunes. Uranium mining enabled the military government to launch ambitious development programs which, until 1981, succeeded in distracting attention from the absence of legal political activity.
1980 Relations between Niger and Libya were strained by Libya's accusation that the Niger government was persecuting the Tuareg population. The government also resented Libyan broadcasts, aimed at Niger, in the Hausa and Tamasheq languages. The tension between the two countries was exacerbated by the defection to Libya of 12 Niger civil servants of Tuareg origin. Libya has since been periodically charged with backing anti-government forces.
1983 President Kountche appointed Mamid Algabid, a Tuareg, as the new Prime Minister. He also announced limited elections.
May 29 - 30, 1985 A major Niger's dissident organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Niger (FPLN), led by Abdoulaye Diori, the son of ex-President Hamani Diori, was responsible for an armed attack at Tchin Taharaden by 14 Libyan-trained Tuareg tribesmen. The rebels attempted to seize arms and ammunition for use in further planned raids by the local Tuareg population. This attack was defeated by the government army. The FPLN had its headquarters in Libya. After the Tchin Taharaden incident, the government appointed Khamed Abdoulaye, a Tuareg from the Tchin Taharaden region, as Secretary of State.
1987 Seyni Kountche died after a year of ill-health and Brig. Ali Saibou, Army Chief of Staff and a cousin of Kountche, was appointed leader by the CMS. Still, effective power remained in the control of the military council and of a narrow elite, dominated by the Djerema ethnic group. Saibou promised continuity of Kountche's ideals and objectives, although he displayed a more flexible approach to government. Abdoulaye Diori returned from Libya.The ex-president Diori and the former Sawaba leader Bakary were received by Saibou, and an appeal was made to exiled Nigerians to return to the country. A general amnesty for all political prisoners was announced.
Mar 13, 1988 The Niger Movement of Revolutionary Committees (Mouncore) was formed by members of the former Revolutionary Movement for National Liberation (MRLN) with the objective of establishing a left wing civilian democracy following the pattern of Libya or of Burkina Faso under the late Thomas Sankara. According to the Agence France-Press (AFP) news agency, the Mouncore (most probably Tuaregs) launched its all-out struggle against the Niger government.
Aug 1988 The National Movement for a Development Society (MNSD) was formed as the single political party under Saibou. The 14-year ban on all political organizations was lifted.
May 1989 Saibou was named as the head of the Higher Council for National Orientation. The Council, which replaced the CMS, was composed of half-military and half-civilians and was the new supreme ruling body.
Sep 24, 1989 A new Constitution was adopted, thus continuing the nations move toward a "truly" democratic system of government.
Dec 10, 1989 Brig. Ali Saibou was confirmed as Head of State after presidential elections were held.
Dec 17, 1989 An amnesty was announced for Maj. Amadou Seydou and Lt. Aboudacar Mahamadou Marafa. Both were serving long sentences for plotting against the regime in 1983. The men were described as Niger's last remaining political prisoners.
Feb 9, 1990 In the capital Niamey, police opened fire on a demonstration by students protesting the implementation of a government austerity plan for the education system. The plan included cuts in scholarship and employment opportunities for graduates.
Feb 16, 1990 More than 5,000 people took part in a protest march to the Muslim cemetery where victims of the police action of the previous week were buried.
Mar 2, 1990 A major Cabinet reshuffle carried out by President Saibou involved the restoration of the post of Prime Minister, which had been abolished after the December 1989 election. Alios Mahamidou was named the new Prime Minister. Lt. Col. Tanja Mamadou replaced Amadou Madougou as Interior Minister. Madougou had been blamed for the Feb. 9 incident in which police opened fire on a demonstration in Niamey. Officially, three were killed, but other sources reported 14 killed. President Saibou described the police action as a "mistake," and set up an inquiry into the incident.
Apr 1 - May 31, 1990 A series of student demonstrations were accompanied by acts of looting which led to the deployment of security forces outside schools.
May 7, 1990 Tuaregs attacked Tchintabaradene, leaving 31 people dead, among them 25 of the attackers. Authorities said the attack was part of an inter-tribal war among local nomadic tribes who accused each other of having failed to join an anti-government opposition group set up in Libya. The government deployed young, inexperienced soldiers who lived around the capital to restore order.(5) When the soldiers were unable to find the suspects, they went on a rampage killing hundreds of Tuareg civilians. They made Tuareg men (for whom it is shaming to expose even their heads in public) stand naked during interrogation. The Communications Minister confessed, "the Tuareg were not treated in a particularly orthodox manner." The rebels were among more than 18,000 Tuareg nomads who returned to Niger this year after having been expelled from Algeria and Libya.
Jun 6, 1990 A clash between students and security forces occurred on the campus of Niamey University.
Jun 9, 1990 A call by students and trade unionists for a demonstration in the capital resulted in the police closure of the area around the National Assembly.
Jun 11 - 12, 1990 A two-day general strike was called by the Federation of Niger Trade Unions (USTN). It was in protest against austerity measures advocated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and received widespread support. Despite being declared illegal, the union claimed support from 95% of its members. Some arrests were made.
Jun 14, 1990 Further USTN protests against the government were called-off after the release of 50 people arrested during the strike on the 11th and 12th.
Aug 1990 Both the Niger and Mali governments have tried, without success, to play down the troubled situation of the Tuareg. France has expressed concern about the Tuareg and the European Parliament fears their "extinction". Mali's President Moussa Traore said that the Mali army had "mastered" the situation, but on September 3rd and 4th, near Bouressa, Mali, Tuareg tribesmen killed 200 soldiers for the loss of 20 of their own. A week later, President Ali Saibou of Niger called on the Tuareg to lay down their arms. The Tuareg said they were preparing for a long guerrilla war. In Niamey (the capital of Niger) and Bamako (the capital of Mali), it was widely believed that the Tuareg were being manipulated by Libya. Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi has long wanted to lead the Tuareg.(6)
Nov 1990 A multi-party system of government was approved. Political reforms that began in Niger brought with them an Islamic revival which ignited a heated debate over the relationship between state and religion.
Feb 15, 1991 Two new political parties, the Masses' Union for Democratic Action (UMAD-Aiki) and the Workers' Liberation Party (PLT), received certificates of registration from the Ministry of Interior. The total number of political parties in Niger rose to 11 since the multi-party system of government was approved.
Feb 27, 1991 Riots in Niamey provoked the government to close schools.
Mar 11, 1991 In line with promised reforms, 15 political parties received provisional recognition from the Interior Ministry. Tanja Mamadou was replaced by Abara Djika, as Interior Minister.
Mar 12 - 18, 1991 President Saibou was re-elected Chairman of the ruling National Movement for a Developing Society (MNSD) at the Movement's Congress, pending the outcome of a national conference in May to introduce political reforms. The congress called on the government to reopen schools and Niamey University.
May 25, 1991 More than 10,000 people marched in Niamey demanding fair treatment for the Tuareg. The march was organized by human rights groups and unions and was called to mark the anniversary of a massacre in Tchintabaraden in which they claimed the government killed hundreds of Tuareg.
Jul 12, 1991 President Saibou resigned as President of the ruling MNSD party to "place himself above all parties and to devote himself exclusively to his duties and responsibilities as President of the republic."
Jul 29, 1991 The National Conference (held between July and November 1991), drew about 1,200 delegates representing the government, political parties, professional and labor bodies and farming and nomadic communities. Two previous postponements of the conference were seen as a sign of government insincerity and were greeted by demonstrations in Niamey. On the second day of the Conference, a declaration of sovereignty by the majority of the delegates was followed by a walk-out by government delegates. The army had refused to attend from the beginning.
Aug 1991 Col. Toumba Boubacar, Army Chief-of-Staff, threatened a coup against the National Conference which he said was attempting to humiliate the army.
Aug 8, 1991 The National Conference suspended the constitution and cancelled Saibou's executive powers.
Sep 10, 1991 The National Conference voted to dissolve the government and to replace Boubacar and his deputy. Their replacements were Major Mazou Issa and Major Djibo Tahirou.
Sep 28, 1991 The National Conference established a High Court of Justice with power to try government officials, including Saibou. The Conference decided that Saibou would remain Head of State during the interim period of fifteen months until elections.
Oct 26, 1991 Amadou Cheiffou, a regional director of the International Civil Aviation Organization, was elected Prime Minister of the transitional government.
Nov 1991 The National Conference handed executive power over to Cheiffou. Legislative power during the transition was vested in a 15-member High Council of the Republic (HCR), which would ensure the implementation of decisions made by the National Conference. A conference organized to end the rebellions in Mali and Niger began in Mali. On the 27th, Tuareg rebels in Niger attacked a tourist convoy of 33 people in the Assamaka region.
Dec 1991 Seven Tuaregs were killed in two clashes with Niger troops. In recent months, the Niger government has taken a hard stance on the Tuareg situation denying the existence of a Tuareg political movement and insisting on referring to the Tuareg insurgents as bandits rather that rebels.
1992 The drawing up of a new constitution sparked a fierce debate between those who wanted Niger identified as an Islamic nation and those who demanded an explicit declaration of a secular state. A compromise identified Niger as a state not subject to any religion. Islamic groups could have no formal role in Niger's political life as the electoral law banned parties with a religious base.
Jan 5, 1992 Transitional Prime Minister Cheiffou called on the rebels in the North to disarm and use dialogue to resolve their grievances. He indicated a willingness to use military force to crush the rebellion in the North and rejected any partition of the country. The Ministry of the Interior ordered the indefinite closure of the Assamaka border post to foreign tourists from Algeria as of February 1, citing the need to secure the border against the infiltration of arms by Tuareg rebels.
Jan 7, 1992 The Tuareg replied to calls to disarm from Prime Minister Cheiffou with preconditions for negotiations. They required the return of the army to barracks and an independent inquiry into their issue, with international observers, as in Mali.
Jan 22, 1992 Niger closed its border with Algeria to prevent further Tuareg attacks following an incident in which a group of European tourists was attacked and robbed. The tourists were subsequently attacked by soldiers who had mistaken them for Tuaregs.
Mar 1, 1992 Mutinous soldiers seized control over a radio station and "arrested" Andre Salifou, the Chairman of the High Council of the Republic, and Mohammed Moussa, the Interior Minister. Moussa, a Tuareg, was attempting to reconcile the Tuaregs and the central government. The mutineers were led by Sergeant Hassane Ide. One of the first actions of the mutineers, was to free Captain Maliki Bouraima, the man responsible for the massacre of Tuaregs at Tchintabaraden in May 1990. The mutineers briefly took control of a television station and read their demands over the air. They demanded payment of their wages which were reportedly two months overdue. They also demanded the sacking of the second in command of the army, Commander Abou Mamane [BBC records identified him as being Major Djibo Tahirou]. It was believed that Mamane was chosen because he is of mixed Hausa-Tuareg heritage. Traditionally the army has been made up of Djeremas and Songhais.
May 12, 1992 Following a series of meetings between the government and the Liberation Front of Air and Azawad (FLAA), representing the Tuareg rebels, a joint communique was released committing both parties to the creation of a favorable climate for effective negotiations, beginning with a 15-day cease fire. It was also agreed that both Algeria and France would act as mediators.
Jun 27, 1992 Nine people were killed in the village of Insafarit, in the Tahoua district, when Tuareg herders failed to keep to a path leading across fields of young millet. At least three of the victims from the clash with the Hausa farmers were women. Hausa Farmers and Tuareg pastoralists regularly clash in Niger, which has no legal code regulating rural ownership rights.
Jul 14, 1992 Gado Boube, the Minister of Education and Research, was one of several people taken hostage by a group of 100 students who were protesting the lack of payment of scholarships and university registration procedures.
Jul 17, 1992 In Zinder, Muslim protests ended in violence after Friday prayers. Several thousand demonstrators attacked "indecently dressed" women, whom they claimed were responsible for the drought. Troops were deployed to disperse the protesters.
Aug 28 - 31, 1992 Lower ranking army officials raided Agadez, Arlit, and Tchirozerine, and arrested several people for allegedly being members or sympathizers of the FLAA. Mohammed Ewangai, leader of the FLAA, announced that the response was "clear and simple; it is war". The soldiers were taking orders from a de facto "Joint High Command" of members of the Gendarmerie, Republican Guard, and police. The Joint High Command was headed by a Capt. Baraje based in Agadez. On Aug. 28, the Interior Minister, Daouda Rabiou, verbally supported the actions on national television and the central government seemed powerless to do otherwise.
Sep 1, 1992 It was reported that those arrested in the August raids included the Minister of Commerce Transport and Tourism, Mohammed Moussa, a Tuareg, and two members of the Transitional National Legislature, the High Council of the Republic.
Sep 4, 1992 The powerful Federation of Niger Trade Unions (USTN) was reported to be supporting the soldiers' actions.
Sep 6, 1992 International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) personnel were refused access to prisoners being held by soldiers. The soldiers also announced that those arrested included former Minister Khamed Abdoulaye, an aid to Prime Minster Cheiffou Amadou, and several other prominent figures.
Sep 7, 1992 The army announced that 186 people had been arrested in the unofficial crackdown.
Sep 14, 1992 The 80 year old chief of the first Tuareg clan, the Tlemces, in the Tchintabaradene district, was assassinated by five unidentified armed men on camels. A second victim, a blacksmith, was found nearby. Those living in the vicinity of the killing were seen fleeing toward Mali.
Sep 21, 1992 Tuaregs belonging to the FLAA kidnapped one soldier and beat several civilians. They told the civilians to tell the authorities that they would continue these acts if the army did not release those illegally detained from the unofficial army crackdown last month.
Sep 22, 1992 Soldiers rioted in Agades threatening to execute 110 Tuareg civilians if the rebels failed to free 40 police and army hostages within 48 hours. Officers restored order by Sept. 24.
Dec 26, 1992 A multi-party Constitution was adopted following a referendum that resulted in an 89% "yes" vote in favor of change. The new Constitution provided for a directly elected President before mid-February 1993 and an elected 83-member National Assembly before January 1993.
Jan 1, 1993 The Government released 81 suspected rebel Tuaregs in Ahadex for lack of sufficient evidence. A Tuareg commando killed nine people, including three members of the Republican Guard, in Abala.
Jan 31, 1993 A Ministerial portfolio to deal with the Tuareg rebellion was created. The post, Minister in Charge of the Rebellion and National Reconciliation, went to Albert Wright.
Feb 1993 The police in Zinder released a small number of detainees suspected of being rebels. Arabs of the Tessara region, allegedly supplied by government forces during the period of the transitional government, killed 13 Tuaregs at Intarik.
Feb 7, 1993 Tuareg rebels attacked three villages in the Tchintabaradene district, killing 30 civilians. The attack came a week after the creation of a Ministerial portfolio.
Feb 8, 1993 A government source announced that about 100 rebels in 10 Toyota vehicles attacked Azenak, killing 10 and wounding 2 civilians. Seydou Sabo, the chairman of a commission, set up to examine ways and means of solving the "rebellion" stated that Niger would like a truce but elections will continue with or without one. He added that the rebels should be honest with themselves and prove their good will in regards to some or all of the hostages they are still detaining [words indistinct]. Sabo also added that there was a second agreement concerning the rebels currently detained. The second agreement was that the judicial procedure under way must be speeded up, that is, documents relating to their trials should be processed quickly. Sabo also called on "fraternal and friendly" nations to stop supporting small groups in their efforts against democratization in Niger.
Feb 14, 1993 The first multiparty elections since independence were held for the National Assembly. The elections followed the adoption by referendum of a new Constitution in December 1992.
Feb 16, 1993 The Alliance of the Forces for Change (AFC) was created through the unification of nine political parties.
Feb 19, 1993 The Supreme Court announced that the AFC had obtained an absolute majority at the National Assembly election, obtaining 50 of the 83 seats. Election results were as follows: MNSD (National Movement for the Society of Development) Nasara, 29 seats; ii) CDS (Social Democratic Convention) Rahama, 22 seats; iii) PNDS (Niger's Party for Unity and Democracy) Tarayya, 12 seats; iv) ANDP (Niger Alliance for Democracy and Progress) Zaman Lahiva, 11 seats; v) PPN-RDA (Parti Progressiste Nigerien i section du Rassemblement Democratique Africain) 2 seats; vi) UPFP (Union Democratique des Forces Progressistes) Sawaba, 2 seats; vii) UPDP (Union des Patriotes Democrates et Progressistes) Shamuwa, 2 seats; viii) PSDN (Parti Social Democrate Nigerien) Alheri (phonetic) 1 seat; ix) UDPS (Union for Democracy and Social Progress) Amana, 1 seat.
Mar 1993 The presidential elections were held and Mahamane Ousmane, leader of the Social Democratic Convention (CDS)-part of the AFC-was elected. Adopting a similar strategy to that used to defeat the MNSD in the legislative election, the nine AFC parties encouraged their supporters to vote for Ousmane. Financial difficulties of the state became clear when public-sector workers (policemen, workers from the state owned broadcasting service, and civil servants) took industrial action in protest of non-payment of salaries. In early March the new Government, led by President Ousmane, reached a three-month truce with the major Tuareg group, the FLAA. The truce led to an exchange of all prisoners (release dates not indicated). The truce was extended in June, for three more months.(7)
Mar 14, 1993 Moumouni Adamou Djermakoye of the Niger Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ANDP), part of the ruling AFC, was elected Speaker of the National Assembly.
Jun 2, 1993 The government and the FLAA renewed, for another three months, the truce reached in April.
Jun 11, 1993 The Algerian-based military command of the FLAA opposed the agreement concluded by the FLAA's political wing.
Jun 24, 1993 A newly formed Tuareg group, the Revolutionary Army of the Liberation of Northern Niger led by Attaher Abdulmumin, announced that it would not abide by the truce.
Jul 12, 1993 Soldiers in the town of Agadez, Maradi, Jahoua and Zinder, took regional officials hostage for several hours in protest against not receiving their salaries. President Mahamane Ousmane immediately condemned the actions as politically motivated.
Jul 18, 1993 A French news agency reported that Mano Dayak, and several other leading members of the rebel FLAA organization, had left the organization to form the Front for the Liberation of Tamoust (FAT). Dayak, spokesman and one of the FLAA's chief negotiators in talks with the government, was reportedly upset over Rissa Boula's (leader of the FLAA) reluctance to abandon the armed struggle. The new movement declared its support for the truce signed with the government in June.
Aug 1993 Broadcasts in Hausa and other widely spoken African languages by the BBC and Voice of America have broken the government broadcast monopoly in Niger. Under the Constitution, political parties may not be formed on the basis of religion, ethnicity, or region. A Tuareg raid left seven dead, four of whom were infants. The political goal of attacks such as this raid was reportedly to demonstrate the government's vulnerability and inability to protect citizens.
Sep 11, 1993 The government and the Tuareg splinter group, FLT (Tamoust Liberation Front), extended, for another three months, the truce that the FLAA signed with the government. The FLAA factionalized between June and September into several splinter groups. Between June and September, the truce was largely adhered to, although attacks made by splinter groups did occasionally occur. The number of reported attacks recently increased and the FAT organization had threatened renewed fighting in the north unless a negotiated settlement was reached.
Nov 11, 1993 Scheduled peace talks were postponed when mediators failed to persuade rival factions, the FLAA and the FAT, to join the meetings. The French have withdrawn as mediators, citing the deadlock created by the personal rivalry between the leaders of the two groups. In early November the FLAA and the Revolutionary Army of the Liberation of Northern Niger (ARLN) had announced the suspension of contacts with the government in protest against the governments failure to attend recent peace talks in Algiers. The FLT organization, on the other hand, retained contacts with the government.
Dec 1, 1993 Tuaregs attacked several vehicles in Tiguidit, injuring eight. They in turn accused the government of attacking an encampment at Talak on 15 December in which four men were allegedly tortured and killed by government forces.
Jan 9, 1994 Seven people were killed, including four Tuaregs, in a Tuareg attack on a village in Manzou district.
Jan 28, 1994 The Popular Front for the Liberation of the Sahara (FPLS) was established bringing the number of Tuareg groups to four. It was expected to work closely with the three existing groups, the FLAA, the FLT, and the ARLN.
Feb 16 - 17, 1994 The first round of talks between the government and Tuareg groups took place in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, aimed at ending the conflict that has left over 100 people dead since November 1991. They agreed to hold further talks.
Feb 23, 1994 The Coordination of Armed Resistance (CRA), a Tuareg rebel umbrella group incorporating the FPLS, the FLAA, and the FLT, issued a list of demands. The list included regional boundary changes, local autonomy, increased political and governmental participation, demilitarization of Tuareg areas, substantial economic investment in the area, and the teaching of the Tuareg language, Tamashek.
Mar 1994 The Agadez region of Niger has become a no-go area without military escort. The government reiterated that autonomy for the northern region of the country is out of the question.
May 1994 About 100 Tuaregs, mostly women and children, were turned back at the Burkina Faso border where they attempted to seek refuge from Tuareg-government clashes. Burkina Faso houses several thousand Tuareg refugees. Twenty Tuaregs were killed and six captured on the 20th May in two separate clashes with military patrols.
Jun 23, 1994 The government of Niger and Tuareg rebels tentatively agreed on "homogeneous" autonomous regions for the Tuaregs. The agreement, agreed to in principle only, called for the carving out of a new administrative map, taking account of "cultural and social homogeneity." The agreement also included a quota system guaranteeing Tuaregs a fair share of government jobs and military positions. The Tuaregs were represented by the CRA, which compromises all four Tuareg factions.
Jun 30, 1994 The Gandha Koy defence movement, comprising the Songhai ethnic group from northern Mali, recently formed to counter moves by the Tuareg in obtaining regional autonomy and better jobs, were believed to be behind a foiled abduction of four Tuaregs. The abduction was foiled when Malian troops engaged the kidnappers in a shoot-out, killing one Tuareg and one kidnapper.
Aug 12, 1994 Eleven Tuaregs and 3 soldiers were killed in clashes. The total number of people killed in the conflict since its beginning at the end of 1991 is 143 (63 Tuareg rebels, 33 security forces, and 47 civilians). Negotiations which seemed promising in June have since come to nothing.
Sep 26, 1994 Tuareg rebels claimed responsibility for a grenade attack that killed 6 and injured 35 in Agades in the North of Niger.
Oct 9, 1994 The Tuareg rebels and Niger government signed an agreement to end the conflict within six months. However, most of the details on ending the conflict were left for future negotiations.
Jan 1995 The ceasefire signed in October 1994 was extended.
Jan 14, 1995 Niger's opposition parties won a slim majority in the parliamentary election (43 seats to the president's bloc's 40). Political deadlock has gripped the country since 28 September 1994 when the party of then Prime Minister Mahamoudou Issoufou quit the governing coalition. He said political maneuvering had replaced real efforts to revive the economy and end the Tuareg rebellion. The defection left the government without a parliamentary majority, so President Mahamane Ousmane dissolved parliament on 17 October 1994, leaving the country unable to legislate.
Mar 27, 1995 Some 50 armed men attacked a company of government soldiers at Dirkou, northeast of Agadez. The Defense Ministry said 5 attackers were killed and 15 captured. The attack was believed to have come from the Democratic Front for Renewal which is a member of the CRA (Coordination of Armed Resistance), but is not an ethnic Tuareg group.
Apr 24, 1995 A peace agreement between the government and Tuareg rebels was signed, formally ending the conflict which began in November 1991. Talks leading to the agreement, mediated by Algeria, Burkina Faso, and France, began in March. The agreement, reached April 15 provides for a permanent ceasefire and an amnesty for fighters from both sides. It also includes a provision for disarming the Tuaregs and their incorporation into the security forces beginning July 1, as well as their reintegration into schools and the civil service. The agreement additionally provides for a law that would speed up decentralization so as to ensure adequate development for all regions of the country. The four-year conflict claimed 150 lives and has taken an economic toll on the state which is dependent upon uranium mined in the North.
May 25, 1995 A Special Peace Committee began meetings; it is responsible for seeing to the implementation of the peace accord signed in April.
Jun 13, 1995 Niger's Parliament voted in favor of a general amnesty for fighters on both sides of the Tuareg rebellion. Tuaregs criticize the inclusion of "self-defense" groups (Arab militias) in the amnesty.
Jul 2, 1995 At least 13 Tuaregs were killed in a clash with Arab vigilantes in Niger. It is the first such incident since the signing of the peace accord in April. Tuaregs were demanding disarming the vigilantes as a price of permanent peace.
Jul 27, 1995 The government reported that is had released all former members of the Tuareg rebel movement it had in custody. ORA coordinator Mohamed Abdoulmoumine expressed full satisfaction with the measure.
Aug 15, 1995 The Niger government said its efforts at economic reform had won the approval of the World Bank and IMF and it expected to sign an enhanced structural adjustment accord soon.
Sep 9, 1995 Tuareg rebel leaders threatened to resume armed struggle of the government does not meet its commitments under the peace accord. The accord provides for a cease-fire and the integration of Tuareg forces into the national army and security forces. The government also provided more regional autonomy and development for the North. Disarmament is scheduled to begin 1 October 1995. The government, however, is virtually bankrupt and there is a power struggle between the president and prime minister, so it is unlikely to be able to meet development plans for the North any time soon.
Oct 1995 Meetings taking place since 25 September have proved unsuccessful in uniting Tuareg factions. Divisions within the Tuareg remain, further complicating the peace initiatives. The army killed two civilians when they mistook them for common bandits. Bandits have been using the Tuareg rebellion as a cover for their robberies and killings. The army confirmed reports of clashes between government forces and Tuareg rebels in the northeast. These are the first reported clashes since the Peace Accord was signed in April.
Nov 1995 The government and Tuareg rebels reaffirm their commitment to peace after a clash in which one Tuareg was killed. Other sources confirmed dozens of deaths in the clash between government forces and members of the ORA around Tahoua. It was the most serious clash since the April Peace Accord was signed.
Jan 17, 1996 A prominent Tuareg rebel leader Mano Dahak was killed when his plane crashed. He was on his way to resume dialogue with government authorities.
Jan 27, 1996 A military coup took place in Niger; the new leaders said squabbling between government leaders was about to derail economic reforms and dash the hopes of ending the Tuareg-government conflict. The leader of the coup, Gen. Ibrahim Mainassara, later appointed an all civilian transitional government. One Tuareg, Attaher Abdoulmoumine, was appointed to the cabinet as Interior Minister. Tuaregs generally welcomed the coup because the previous government was unable to function due to squabbling between the president and the prime minister.
Feb 7, 1996 At least 12 were killed when ethnic Toubou rebels attacked a village and military base in northeast Niger.
Mar 8, 1996 Algeria, Niger and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees signed an agreement in Niamey with a view to repatriating Tuareg refugees in Algeria.
Mar 18, 1996 The transitional government recognized the CRA. Authorities have taken note of the wish for peace expressed by this movement which brings together seven Tuareg factions.
Jul 7, 1996 Presidential elections took place. There were five candidates competing for the post, and Gen. Manissara claimed victory after he replaced the electoral commission with his own men. He also placed opposition leaders under house arrest and banned public gatherings until the election results were declared valid by the country's courts.
Sep 30, 1996 The leader of the ORA, Rissa Boula, said the group was no longer bound by the April 1995 peace treaty because of the lack of progress in implementing its terms.
Nov 1996 The Government organized a Constitutional Conference, held a referendum on a new Constitution, and conducted a seriously flawed presidential election, which was won by Mainassara. The recently held legislative elections were boycotted by the opposition. Progovernment parties and sympathizers claimed all 80 National Assembly seats.(Source: U.S. Department of State, February 1997)
Nov 13, 1996 The two main Tuareg rebel factions, the ORA and the CRA, were said to have broken up and a new organization, the Union of Forces of the Armed Resistance (UFRA), has emerged.
Dec 14, 1996 An agreement between Niger, Mali and the UNHCR was signed making provision for the return of 25,000 Malian Tuareg refugees living in Niger.
Dec 17, 1996 The government and some Tuareg group have signed an agreement providing for the return to barracks of former Tuareg fighters. This operation precedes the integration of the former rebels back into the regular army. To be allowed to return to barracks, fighters must be Niger nationals and members of one of twelve groups that signed the April 1995 peace accord. Disarmament will begin after the return to barracks. The ORA is not represented in this agreement.
Dec 29, 1996 A clash between security forces, including some Tuareg soldiers, and fighters of the Unified Movement of the Tuareg Resistance north of Agades left at least three dead and four injured. The northern region remains in a state of insecurity.
Jan 8, 1997 President Ibrahim Bare Mainassara met with Rissa Boula, leader of the ORA and they agreed to forge ahead with the peace process.
Jun 6, 1997 Former Tuareg rebels have surrounded the town of Agadez and are demanding the return of the three superior officials, including the mayor, of the region who were yesterday taken hostage by soldiers who accused them of taking sides with the rebels. The minister of defence, accompanied by some senior army officers, went to Agadez and obtained their release by the end of the day. Today, it is the turn of the former rebels to also carry out their mutiny. They surrounded the town of Agadez, saying they are not afraid of confrontation with the soldiers stationed in the town. They are accusing the government of Niger of not honoring the commitments made in the peace process two years ago.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 6/6/97)
Sep 16, 1997 A rocket attack on September 16 near Agadez, northern Niger, marked the re-opening of hostilities between the government and Toubou and Tuareg rebel forces.(Source: Africa News, 11/24/97)
Sep 26, 1997 A Tuareg source in Niger announced the creation of a coalition between the Union of Armed Resistance Forces [UFRA] and the Saharan Revolutionary Armed Forces [FARS]. The UFRA is a Tuareg organization while the FARS are composed of Tubu rebels. The two organizations have claimed responsibility for an attack on the Madam Military Base on the border with Libya. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 9/26/97)
Oct 15, 1997 As Tuareg dissidents have been multiplying their attacks in recent weeks denouncing the stalemate in the accords, government and former representatives of the rebellion have just taken stock of the situation to revive the implementation of the April 1995 Treaty. The first measure is the establishment of a new timetable for the last stages of the normalization. The ex- rebels encamped for several months in their base will be disarmed on 21st October, a month later than planned, and the encampment will end two days later. Then the most delicate phase - the integration of ex- rebel combatants within government structures-will commence.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10/15/97)
Oct 28, 1997 According to Niger's defence minister, Goukouni Oueddei has allied himself with a group of Niger Tuareg and Tubu rebels to create a state covering the north of Niger and regions of neighbouring countries. These accusations have been categorically denied by Goukouni Oueddei. Mohamed Ag Annacko, president of the Union of Armed Resistance Fronts - the Niger Tuareg rebellion - who has also been accused by Niamey, also denies any separatist designs. Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10/28/97)
Nov 13, 1997 Thousands of students and school children took to the streets of Niger's capital on November 13 to press demands for unpaid allowances as well as for more teachers and classroom space. Riot police were deployed in the town center and near the university, blocking the path of other students hoping to join the demonstration. They later stormed the campus, firing tear-gas grenades and beating up several students before withdrawing. The demonstrations came as teachers at Niger's only university in Niamey began a fourth week of strike action to protest their working and living conditions. The demonstrations and strikes also came amid reports that clashes between rebels and government troops in the east of the country had left up to 30 dead, according to the rebels, and three according to the army. The FDR withdrew from the peace process between the government and Tuareg rebels following last May's joint attack by Niger and Chadian troops on FDR positions in the Lake Chad region. (Source: Africa News, 11/24/97)
Nov 24, 1997 Niger's government collapsed following President Ibrahim Bare Mainassara's dissolution of the year-old administration of Prime Minister Cisse Amadou. Mainassara accused PM Amadou of doing nothing to solve the countries most pressing problems such as: Threat of famine brought on by a 152,000 tonne grain deficit, security problems (In the north, a rebellion by nomadic Tuaregs has re-surfaced, resulting in the killing of some 60 people during clashes with the army since September), classroom unrest (Students are waiting for 13-months of grant arrears), civil servants' pay problems (civil servants are owed six months' salary) and the actions of opposition parties. A new government is expected to be formed within a month, and former secretary general of the Organisation of the Islamic conference, Hamid Algabid, is a favorite for the post of prime minister.(Source: Africa News, 12/1/97)
Nov 25, 1997 Public schools were closed today due to a three-day strike by teachers while an ongoing pay dispute by lecturers has kept Niger's only university closed for more than a month. (Source: Africa News, 12/1/97)
Dec 2, 1997 There have been renewed clashes in Tahoua in northern Niger. A group of Tuareg rebels attacked some travellers, and security forces intervened. One Tuareg rebel died, another was wounded and a third rebel was taken prisoner in the clashes.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 12/2/97)
Jan 11, 1998 Six soldiers detained by the Tuareg rebels for 83 days have been released in the north of the country. They were released, and handed over to President Mainassara today, following the peace accord signed in Algiers at the end of last year. Meanwhile, opponents to Mainassara's rule staged a demonstration today in front of the parliament building. The march was attended by all the opposition leaders. The demonstrators called for the institution of real democracy in the country. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 1/11/98)
Feb 21, 1998 A detachment of soldiers mutinied in Niger, and workers have gone on strike. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 2/23/98)
Jun 8, 1998 The last group of Tuareg rebels in Niger has been disarmed. The combatants of the Union of Armed Resistance Fronts [UFRA] of Mohamed Ag Annacko yesterday handed over all their military equipment to the military authorities. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 6/8/98)
Mar 10, 1999 Representatives of the 14 fronts of the former Tuareg rebel movement - Arabs and Toubous - signed a declaration that denounced the government's poor political disposition and laxity. The Tuareg declaration accused the government of delaying the reintegration process of former rebels into the Niger police forces, and security forces. The signatories to the declaration are asking for the deployment before 24th April of units of Sahel security forces, the desert police, which is mainly composed of former rebels. They are also asking for the immediate regularization of the status of their officers and non-commissioned officers in the army and the Gendarmerie, and the release of all people detained on rebellion charges.(Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 3/24/99)
Apr 9, 1999 President Ibrahim Bare Mainassara was assassinated by members of the presidential guard commanded by the new military leader, Major Daouda Mallam Wanke. Wanke has pledged a nine-month transition to a return to civilian rule after general and presidential elections. Wanke replaced seven of Niger's regional military leaders. Among Wanke's new appointments is Mohamed Anako, a former leader of the Tuareg rebellion. Anako has been appointed minister and special adviser to the head of state. This appointment seems to have been aimed at appeasing the Tuareg community, which has complained about the slow progress of their integration into society promised in 1995 peace accords.(Source: Africa News, 4/21/99)
Feb 16, 2004 A Tuareg, Mohaned Anako, wass named to the post of Minister Delegate to the Minister of Finance. (Cambridge International Reference on Current Affairs, 03/22/2004, “People in Power: Niger”)
Feb 16, 2004 - Mar 5, 2005 Rhissa Ag Boula, was dismissed from his ministerial position and arrested under suspicion of participating in the murder of a politician in Agadez. He is freed after more than a year in jail. (Africa News, 02/16/2004, “Niger; Former Tuareg Minister Arrested in Connection With Murder – Radio”; Agence France Presse, 03/05/2005, “Tuareg leader, former government minister, freed in Niger: report”)
Jun 5, 2004 Air and Azawak Liberation front (FLAA) attacked and looted vehicles and passengers in Agadez during the year. (US Department of State. 02/28/2005. "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2004: Niger." Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.)
Jun 8, 2004 A bus, run by the Société nigerienne de transports de voyageurs, traveling from Agadez was attacked with heavy weaponry and looted while it was on its way to Arlit. Two were injured, but no reports of fatalities. (Xinhua News Agency, 06/08/2004, “Au moins deux hommes blessés dans des attaques dans le nord du Niger”)
Aug 1, 2004 - Feb 9, 2005 FLAA kidnaps four soldiers after claiming responsibility for several ambushes. The FLAA then offers to exchange the soldiers for the release of Rhissa Ag Boula. The soldiers were finally released following mediation by a Libyan NGO. (Agence France Presse, 01/14/2005, “Tuareg rebel front in Niger offers hostage swap for ex-minister”; Agence France Presse, 02/09/2005, “Four African soldiers return home after five-month hostage ordeal”)
Aug 11, 2004 Following a warning issued by Tuareg former rebels, buses were attacked and looted and passengers were robbed. Two were killed and two police officers were kidnapped in the attack involving three buses. (Agence France Presse, 08/11/2004, “Two killed, two police officers kidnapped by armed gangs in Niger”)
Aug 12 - 16, 2004 Moussa Kaka, a journalist in Niger, was arrested by authorities for having interviewed an alleged Tuareg rebel leader. He is released four days later. (Africa News, 08/19/2004, “Niger; Radio Station Director Released”)
Dec 20, 2004 Le Témoin's issue number 99 was seized by officials after it attempted to publish a picture of four soldiers captured by Tuareg rebels. (Africa News, 12/21/2004, “Niger; Newspaper Seized”)
Mar 5, 2005 A Tuareg chief announced his intention to free 7,000 of his slaves, but abruptly canceled the ceremony. (The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia), 03/07/2005, “Plan to free 7,000 slaves called off”)
Jul 17, 2005 In a ceremony, the FLAA handed over an unspecified number of weapons to the Libyan government. (Panafrican News Agency (PANA) Daily Newswire, 07/17/2005, “Niger Rebel Movement Surrenders Arms to Kadhaft”)
Dec 2, 2005 In Agadez, men manning a roadblock fired at and killed a French doctor traveling through the area. (Agence France Presse, 12/03/2005, “Un touriste français tué par balles dans le nord du Niger")
Jun 2, 2006 The president of Niger met with a Tuareg leader, Rhissa Ag Boula, in an effort to prevent the Malian Tuareg conflict from spilling over into Niger. (Agence France Presse, 06/08/2006, “Niger President meets Tuareg leader after Mali uprising”)


© 2004 - 2016 • Minorities At Risk Project

Information current as of July 16, 2010