Niger's President Mamadou Tandja extended a state of alert in the desert north, home to some of the world's largest uranium reserves, where security forces have been battling an uprising led by Tuareg nomads.
The announcement prolonged for a further three months from Sunday extra powers of arrest first given to the security forces in August in the region around the northern town of Agadez.
The rebel Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ) has killed at least 50 soldiers and taken dozens hostage since launching a revolt a year ago to demand more autonomy and a greater share of mining revenues.
As the Associated Press, points out:
The alert…gives the army the boosted powers to conduct security operations, patrols, search homes and carry out identity checks. It does not institute a curfew or other regulations that would affect daily life.
The state of emergency will last for three more months, but can be extended again.