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Niger Army

The national police, under the Ministry of Interior, are responsible for urban law enforcement. The gendarmerie, under the Ministry of Defense, has primary responsibility for rural security. The National Guard, also under the Ministry of Interior, is responsible for domestic security and the protection of high-level officials and government buildings.

The armed forces, under the Ministry of Defense, are responsible for external security and, in some parts of the country, for internal security. The government declared a state of emergency in Diffa Region in February, and armed security forces were responsible for security there. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over security forces, although at times individual soldiers acted independently of the command structure.

Police were largely ineffective due to a lack of basic supplies such as vehicle fuel, radios, and other investigatory and law enforcement equipment. Patrols were sporadic, and the emergency response time in Niamey could be 45 minutes or more. Police training was minimal, and only specialized police units had basic weapon-handling skills. National Guard troops acted as prison guards but had no prison-specific training. Citizens complained security forces did not adequately police border regions, remote rural areas, and major cities. Corruption remained a problem. The gendarmerie is responsible for investigation of police abuses; nevertheless, police impunity was a widespread problem.

  • 4 x armoured recon squadrons
  • 7 x infantry companies
  • 2 x airborne companies
  • 1 x engineer company
  • 1 x air defence company
  • 1 x counter-terrorist company
  • The Nigerien Armed Forces total approximately 15,000 personnel with some 5,000 gendarmes, 400 Air Force personnel, and 10,000 Army personnel. Specialized Army assets include Chinese-made and French-made light armored vehicles, some artillery pieces, and an array of crew-served weapons (machine guns, recoilless rifles, and mortars). The Nigerien Armed Forces are divided into eight battalions and five defensive zones partitioned roughly corresponding to Nigers administrative regions. Niger possesses limited but adequate training facilities for soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and basic officer training but relies on external support for advanced and technical training.

    Nigerien troops are most often deployed using two to three light pickup trucks carrying seven to ten soldiers with assault rifles and a mounted crew-served machine gun. Nigers primary military missions include guaranteeing national sovereignty by protecting its national interests against aggression; participating with, and reinforcing, police in civil defense matters; countering the proliferation of small arms; contributing to regional security; and supporting international peacekeeping operations.

    While Nigerien forces have expressed a desire to actively combat terrorism and secure their borders, resources are stretched thin protecting mining and petroleum investments, participating in international peacekeeping operations, and dealing with residual banditry. Primary partners for security cooperation include France, China, Algeria, and Morocco. Historically strong cooperation with the United States has recently been complicated by coup detats and allegations of human rights abuses, but resumed in the summer of 2011. In spite of their limitations, Nigerien Armed Forces are relatively professional, capable, and have the political support necessary to carry out appropriate security operations within their borders.

    Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the president is assisted by the High Council of Defence and the National Security Council.

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    Page last modified: 07-05-2017 19:07:11 ZULU