On Saturday, January 2, 2021, a sad fate similar to that which cost the lives of valiant Nigerien soldiers in Chinagoder last year has plunged the Nigerien people into mourning. Beyond the good wishes for the new year 2021, it rather begins by bringing sadness on the faces and hearts of the people of Niger in compassion to the barbarity that occurred in the commune of Mangaizé in the Tillabéry region of Niger.
The place of the attack of January 2, 2021
Tchoma Bongou and Zaroumadareye are two localities that fall administratively under the rural commune of Tondikiwindi in the department of Ouallam. Geographically, the places of the desolate spectacle are located on the border with Mali, which is a favorite zone for terrorist groups that disrupt the tranquility in the Sahel countries. It is in this space that the tragedy occurred.
Which moment do terrorists choose for their work?
You will recall that the legislative elections coupled with the presidential elections of the 1st round were organized on December 27, 2020, a few days before the beginning of the new year. In the background, there were disputes over the candidacy of one of the 30 candidates for the presidential chair. Some Nigeriens are shouting and decrying this single candidacy from the ranks of the ruling party for grievances that have been fairly well publicized so far. In response, all validated candidacies are evaluated in elections held in the presence of national and international observers from all sides. Their published reports do not fundamentally call into question the conduct and credibility of the elections, the final results of which are eagerly awaited by Nigerien citizens in order to determine whether a second round scheduled for February 21, 2021 will take place. All this is taking place under the signs of the same challenges, namely the anti-constitutional candidacy of one of the candidates for the presidential seat, who is going to clash with his runner-up in terms of the percentage of votes received at the end of the first round (39.16% and 16.99% respectively for the two distinguished candidates). It is between these two rounds that the terrorists choose to commit their acts.
What can we learn from this act perpetrated on peaceful citizens?
The responsibility of the Nigerien executive obliged its leader to go to the commune of Mangaizé to attend the funeral and to support the families of the victims. Subsequently, the Nigerien population was asked to observe a 3-day mourning period in memory of the victims. And afterwards? Nothing more! As for the media, the voices of the voiceless, they seem to enjoy themselves by adopting an accomplice silence. This is the least that can be inferred in comparison to the less dramatic circumstances that have occurred under other skies. At almost the same time, two French soldiers lost their lives in Mali, a neighboring state of Niger. A national tribute is paid to them. The Western press has not been short of praise for the memory of the sons of France. As for the daughters and sons of Niger, their deaths were announced in large numbers. Tacitly, the whole world plays the innocent. Covid-19 demands, it would seem! But don't the loss of human lives due to the virus and those caused by terrorists challenge humanity in the same way? Because of an invisible enemy, colossal sums of money are released to fight it. However, the modus operandi of terrorists is known at least these days in the countries of the Sahel: movement on two-wheeled vehicles and the use of sophisticated weapons. They commit their crimes and disappear into the wild in defiance of all contemporary technologies. Where information and intelligence systems, drones, warplanes and other military defense arsenals deployed in Sahelo-Saharan space for decades have not served to annihilate the nuisance force of terrorist groups, is it conceivable to think of a defense of civilian populations?
Which response to an asymmetrical war?
The weapons of war and the means of transport in use do not come from the Sahel, and for one simple reason: no country in the Sahel has an arms production plant and rolling stock. In short, the owners of these murderous devices enjoy a certain complicity, leaving the doors wide open for them to engage in despicable acts that have been successful up to now.
How can these recurring threats be confronted?
If the mission of the defense forces is to ensure peace and security, they must be put in the conditions to respond to the level of the attacks. But confrontation between armed forces is not a wish. Peace is not an empty word. It is a behavior. In Niger, a country in mourning, there is a message that is very rich in lessons and that says: "the peace we want for our country, we also want it for the rest of the world". It is time to stop hatred in all its forms and to work for a world in love with peace and justice. Unlike the promoters of injustice, civil society promotes justice through non-violent means.
What does civil society propose to reduce terrorist acts?
Alarme Phone Sahara is a civil society organization that advocates for the respect of human rights in all their forms. As such, its part of responsibility is to denounce violations of rights and call for a restoration of social balance. APS recalls that the countries of the Sahel as a whole, and Niger in particular, are victims of the occupation of their space, which by force of circumstance has become the theater of demonstrations of evil forces. It therefore fingers the leaders of the South and the North in the implementation of their Machiavellian designs to the detriment of the peoples who ignore the deep-rooted reasons for such pettiness.
The right, especially the right to life, is the most prominent concept whose materialization is sought by the poor.
APS Sensitizes, Documents and Relieves in a struggle against injustice without violence.