Niger: Between March 15 and 17 seven civil society activists have been detained in Niger. On According to Amnesty International Moussa Tchangari, Halidou Mounkaila, Habibou Soumaila, Moundi Moussa and Maikoul Zodi have been arrested since March 19, while Karim Tanko and Seyni Djibo where released on bail on March 19.
All civil have been arrested for the organization of a non-authorized demonstration and charged with they are charged with arson, manslaughter and damage to public property. Several participants to the demonstration died, following the outbreak of a fire, media reports. The Nigerien Civil Society Network Cadre Concertatation et d’Action Citoyenne de la Société Civil Indépendante (CCAC/SCI) has decried the arrest and raised concern over the security situation of the activist.
Moussa Tchangari, who is among those detained, is a civil society actor who has worked closely with Afrique-Europe-Interact (AEI) and has – among others – been critizising the externalization of European borders to Niger. AEI has pre-drafted a letter which can be send to the Nigerien Embassy to demand the release of all civil society activists concerned. Another international campaign has been organised by Amnesty International.
The international network Tournos La Page, find in their report, published in March 2020, that there is a link between security discourse and the restriction of civic space in Niger and that since 2018 demonstration have been banned with an increased frequency. In this sense, the recent arrests need to be understood in the context of a general decline of the space for civil society activism in Niger international movement.