Staring down the barrel of a 14-month northern rebellion that has taken the lives of at least 70-soldiers and countless other civilians, the government of Niger recently passed a new anti-terror law, Reuters reports.
The law, ratified Sunday, makes it illegal to posses or manufacture explosive devices or radioactive materials along with the acts of hostage taking and attacking transport.
"The integration of this anti-terrorism law into our judicial structure equips our authorities to fight both effectively and legally this scourge that spares no country," said Justice Minister Dagra Mamadou.
He is most likely speaking about the Tuareg-led Niger Justice Movement, MNJ, which began a rebellion in February 2007 demanding more local political autonomy and a greater share of Niger’s profits made from its extensive uranium mines, located around the northern half of the country. Niger enjoys one of the world’s largest reserves of uranium, a mineral which has seen a nearly seven-fold increase in price since 2000.
The government’s new law comes at the heels of a new report by Amnesty International asserting that Nigerien troops have participated in at least eight extra-judicial executions in Agadez region. The London-based group maintains that the troops killed the civilians between March 22 – 25 as a response to casualties the army faced in skirmishes with the MNJ.
The report also documents instances of torture and beatings by the army, forced disappearances and arrests and soldiers attacking property, burning houses and camps.