The first is a BBC News photo essay 'The war in the desert; Why the Sahara is terror's new front line'. IT has a few interesting, though not new quotes. This refers o the UN peacekeepers, almost 14,000 peacekeepers from nearly 60 different countries:
Different countries accept different levels of risk. Many are simply going through the motions - counting down the days, trying to stay alive, and having little real impact in a place where it’s nearly impossible to keep the peace.

Then citing the UN Force Commander: I need better equipped and better trained contingents. I need more vehicles… to protect my people against the IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and mines and so on and I need to upgrade the training level of my contingents.

Then the trade in migrants / refugees in Niger: Criminal gangs moved in and the desert tour guides became human traffickers, carrying lorry-loads of migrants north to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. This thriving industry provides both cash and cover for the radical, violent, extremist groups assembling across the Sahara.

On external funding of mosques and schools:Towering over a second meeting is a new white and green mosque, which smells of fresh paint. The UN says Qatari money paid for the building - like Saudi Arabia, here and in other parts of Africa they have a programme that provides new mosques and preachers to teach a very conservative form of Islam.

The references to an attack @ Timbuktu are to an attack in April 2018, so this report may have taken time to reach publication

The second article, published yesterday in 'The Guardian' is headlined: 'New terrorist threat as EU stance on migrants triggers disquiet in Niger;

Efforts to buttress Europe’s borders have left people smugglers in Niger jobless and ripe for exploitation by jihadist groups'. It opens with:
Thousands of men who transported, fed, and housed the hundreds of thousands of migrants who used to cross the impoverished west African country are now unemployed and could easily be exploited by one of the major jihadist groups operating in the region, said leaders in the remote former migrant hub of Agadez.

That is simply weird and appears to contradict the BBC report!

I will copy this to the Mali and UN Peacekeeping threads for reference.