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Old 12-16-2008   #1
Rex Brynen
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Default Niger Rebels Say They Kidnapped U.N. Envoy

Moderator at work

I have merged two threads: Tuareg Insurgency in Northern Niger (2007-2009) and Niger Rebels Say They Kidnapped UN Envoy.

Some of the posts on NIger are found in a parallel thread on Mali:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=9254


Virtually everyone who has worked foreign affairs in defence issues in Ottawa knows Bob—he was/is an outstanding diplomat (including Canadian ambassador to the UNSC) and senior official at National Defence. I hope he's OK, and released quickly.

As Allan Thompson reports in his excellent profile, "The only consolation, one friend said last night, is that if anyone could talk himself out of a tight spot, it would be Fowler."


Niger Rebels Say They Kidnapped U.N. Envoy

By LYDIA POLGREEN
Published: December 16, 2008

Quote:
DAKAR, Senegal — A splinter faction of an insurgent group of nomadic tribesmen fighting in northern Niger claimed on Tuesday that it had abducted a Canadian diplomat serving as the United Nations envoy to the country.

The diplomat, Robert Fowler, was first reported missing on Monday, according to the United Nations, when the vehicle in which he was traveling was found abandoned on the outskirts of Niger’s capital, Niamey. Mr. Fowler was with his aide, Louis Guay, and their driver, the United Nations said. The car’s engine was still running, and there were no signs of a struggle, officials said.
Also: Confusion over missing envoy, Tororonto Star, 16 December 2008.

Robert Fowler no stranger to conflict zones, Toronto Star, 16 December 2008.

Unrest in the Sahara, al-Jazeera English (useful background).

Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-10-2011 at 04:29 PM. Reason: Add Mod's Note
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Old 12-17-2008   #2
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Default Few clues surrounding diplomats’ disappearance

Few clues surrounding diplomats’ disappearance in Niger
Steven Edwards, Canwest News Service
Published: Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quote:
UNITED NATIONS -- Suspects holding veteran Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler and his aide were feared Tuesday to be scanning world reports about the pair to assess how "valuable" they might be.

One insider speculated the kidnappers -- depending on their identity and their goals -- may feel they have hit a "jackpot" given some of the publicly available accounts of Fowler's career.

Fowler is a former deputy minister in the Defence Department and was Canada's longest serving ambassador to the UN.
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Old 12-24-2008   #3
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UN working to find Niger envoy

BBC News, 24 December 2008

Quote:
The UN says it is working with Canada, as well as Niger and others in West Africa to help secure the release of a kidnapped UN special envoy to Niger.

A spokeswoman said the UN was pursuing all appropriate channels to secure the safe return of former Canadian ambassador to the UN, Robert Fowler.

The UN said he went missing in Niger on 15 December while on official business.
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Old 01-24-2009   #4
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Default Fowler update

Sadly, still no news on Bob.

Abducted without a trace

GEOFFREY YORK
Globe and Mail Update
January 24, 2009 at 1:04 AM EST

Quote:
Mr. Fowler, 64, was one of Ottawa's most powerful bureaucrats before his retirement. He had served as an ambassador to the United Nations, a deputy minister of defence, a top adviser to a string of prime ministers and a veteran of war zones from Rwanda to Darfur. Yet this time he may have ventured a step too far.

The tale of the vanished Canadians has all the elements of a Graham Greene thriller: the secretive diplomats who concealed their true mission, their mysterious disappearance in an obscure African country, the intricate games of the rebels and the government and the foreign investigators who are struggling to understand it all.

But if this is a Graham Greene mystery, it has a 21st-century twist: The Islamic radicals with ties to al-Qaeda who investigators believe may now be holding the diplomats. The radicals have emerged as a growing power in North Africa and now seem to be expanding into countries such as Mali and Niger — a vast new territory for their ambitions.
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Old 02-09-2009   #5
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Default Canadian diplomats likely held by al-Qa'ida/AQIM

Video suggests diplomats in clutches of al-Qaeda

GEOFFREY YORK
From Monday's Globe and Mail
February 9, 2009 at 4:13 AM EST

Quote:
JOHANNESBURG — One of the kidnapped Canadians seems exhausted. The other is still clutching his briefcase. Standing behind them are armed men, posing for the camera - the trademark of the al-Qaeda terrorist group.

This is the latest description of a videotape that apparently shows the disturbing fate of Robert Fowler and Louis Guay, the two Canadian diplomats who were kidnapped in December in the West African nation of Niger.

...

The video adds further evidence to the theory of al-Qaeda involvement in the kidnapping. The leading theory among the investigators - including Canadian, American and United Nations security specialists - is that the two Canadian diplomats are being held by a cell of al-Qaeda's branch in North Africa, which is already suspected of masterminding a series of similar kidnappings of Western tourists in Mali, Algeria and Tunisia.
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Old 02-20-2009   #6
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Default AQIM states it is holding Fowler, other hostages

Al-Qaida N. Africa claims 6 hostages

UPI, Published: Feb. 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Quote:
NIAMEY, Niger, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida's North Africa branch claims it is holding hostage a Canadian U.N. peace envoy, his aide and four tourists who were kidnapped in the Sahara.

A spokesman for al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, an Algerian group that claims to have joined Osama bin Laden's terror network in 2006 but some say has simply adopted the name, threatened "to deal with the six kidnapped according to Islamic Shariah law," an audio recording played on pan-Arab TV station Al-Jazeera said.
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Old 12-22-2009   #7
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Default Tuareg Insurgency in Northern Niger (2007-2009)

MICROCON, 21 Dec 09: Circumstantial Alliances and Loose Loyalties in Rebellion Making: The Case of Tuareg Insurgency in Northern Niger (2007-2009)
Quote:
The goal of this paper is to specify the nature of the Mouvement des Nigériens pour la Justice (MNJ) as a non-state armed organisation and to make sense of its shaky existence since its inception, almost three years ago, with a particular focus on the period that made the MNJ a serious political and military opponent to the government. Our argument is that circumstantial alliances and percolation of grievances provoked by local micro-political dynamics and long-standing disenfranchisement of some sections of the Tuareg youth permitted the movement to take off as a credible rebel group. Ultimately, we want to verify if existing analytical tools made available by the theoretical literature on non-state armed groups are adequate to make sense of the MNJ’s organisational trajectory, particularly considering Jeremy Weinstein’s seminal book “Inside Rebellion” (Weinstein, 2006). By putting too much emphasis on “initial conditions”, Weinstein’s model, we argue, fails to properly acknowledge the micro-social dynamics that shape armed groups and their erratic trajectory, and we stress the need to investigate what armed organizations are sociologically made of rather than bluntly postulating their existence.
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Old 11-10-2011   #8
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Default Spillover from Libya in the Niger desert

Cross refer for some background on today's post to the thread 'Gaddafi's sub-Saharan mercenaries':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=12565

The BBC News reports:
Quote:
Fighters of the ousted Libyan regime, ethnic Tuareg rebels and Islamist militants operate in the remote region. Some Tuaregs fought on the side of the late Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi during this year's conflict in Libya.,,and "guided by Malian Tuaregs".
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15654572
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Old 03-26-2012   #9
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Default Niger's complicated hunger crisis

As attention is focussed on Mali along comes the BBC with this report:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17506421

For once governance may not be a problem:
Quote:
Niger has suddenly emerged, after a coup in 2010, as a welcome and unexpected exception in a rough neighbourhood. The new, democratic government was quick to detect the first signs that this year's food crisis would be particularly severe.
I am always wary of reading this:
Quote:
it is shocking to note the complete absence of men
Death, emigration to work and more can account for this. So can the presence of the media and having gone to fight - shades of Somalia too.

Niger has its own Tuareg's (as reported in previous Posts).
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Old 03-26-2012   #10
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Many of their men are in Nigeria, seeking better opportunities and sending money back home. I can attest to that - my gate man and my brother's former gate man are both from Niger.
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Old 04-07-2012   #11
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Default Tuaregs treated differently

A BBC report a month old which I missed, which covers several factors, but this is different:
Quote:
....former rebels have been integrated into government - the new prime minister appointed in April 2011 is a Tuareg, as are most of the local officials in Agadez.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17192212
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Old 10-05-2017   #12
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Default Four Special Forces personnel killed in Niger ambush

Initial stand-alone from the Niger thread for maximum visibility.

Quote:
(CNN)Three Green Berets were killed and two others were wounded in southwest Niger near the Mali-Niger border when a joint US-Nigerien patrol was attacked Wednesday, officials told CNN.
Two administration officials said the wounded US troops had been evacuated to the capital, Niamey, and would soon be moved to Germany. They were described by the officials as being in a "stable condition." The bodies of the three killed also were evacuated.
http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/04/politi...ger/index.html
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Old 10-05-2017   #13
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A curious incident near the Mali border and the NYT report suggests:
Quote:
American forces were rushing to the scene of the ambush, presumably to evacuate American and Nigerien casualties, and possibly to hunt down the attackers.
Link:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/04/w...ed-niger.html?
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Old 10-06-2017   #14
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Default The United States is not at war in Africa, but our African partners are.

More background on the Niger mission:http://taskandpurpose.com/niger-army...l-forces-war/?

Two passages of note IMHO:
Quote:
Instead, Obama justified the intervention based on the 1973 War Powers Resolution that requires frequent updates to Congress on efforts in Niger, his most recent of which, in December 2016, indicated the United States had 575 military personnel in the country and a second drone base — although U.S. forces there were technically not authorized to use lethal force.
A President Trump update:
Quote:
In a June 2017 letter to the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, President Donald Trump mentioned there are 645 military personnel in Niger “to provide a wide variety of support to African partners conducting counterterrorism operations in the region.”
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Old 10-07-2017   #15
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Quote:
A U.S. soldier who was missing after an ambush by militants in Niger has been found dead, according to defense officials.
The attack killed three U.S. soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces Group and four soldiers from Niger, one of whom was serving as an interpreter. Two other American soldiers were wounded and evacuated to Landstuhl.
Quote:
A senior U.S. official said the missing soldier did activate his military beacon and the U.S. military was able to track him for a time before the signal faded.
One official said a 12-man team of U.S. soldiers from the Army's 3rd Special Forces Group was operating with approximately 30 Forces Armees Nigeriennes (FAN) on a train and advise mission near Tongo Tongo, Niger, just miles from the Mali border. Militants, both Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and ISIS, have been using a nearby route to travel back and forth into Mali and back to a base camp in Niger and traffic in black market merchandise, the official said. The partner forces were working to disrupt the so-called rat line and interdict the militants.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/africa/...d-dead-n808381
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Old 10-07-2017   #16
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Quote:
The Pentagon has identified the three Army Green Berets killed in action Wednesday night in Niger.
Staff Sgts. Bryan Black, 35, of Puyallup, Wash.; Jeremiah Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Dustin Wright, 29, of Lyons,#Ga., were killed after their patrol came under attack by Mali-based militants.
The three were assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Quote:
The U.S. special forces were on a joint patrol with Nigerien soldiers near Mali’s border when they “fell into an ambush set by terrorist elements aboard a dozen vehicles and about twenty motorcycles," Niger's army chief of staff said in a statement.
Four Nigerien soldiers were also killed, eight were wounded and two U.S. soldiers were wounded “after intense fighting, during which elements of the joint force showed exemplary courage,” according to the statement.
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/35...illed-in-niger
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Old 10-20-2017   #17
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Default Death of U.S. Soldiers in Niger Sparks FBI Probe, Criticism

Death of U.S. Soldiers in Niger Sparks FBI Probe, Criticism

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Old 10-21-2017   #18
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Default Conflicting Accounts in Niger Ambush Are Subject of Pentagon Investigation

Conflicting Accounts in Niger Ambush Are Subject of Pentagon Investigation

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Old 10-21-2017   #19
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Default New Details Emerge About Attack That Killed U.S. Soldiers in Niger

New Details Emerge About Attack That Killed U.S. Soldiers in Niger

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Old 10-25-2017   #20
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Default Administration Sees No Change in Rules or Mission of U.S. Troops in Niger

Administration Sees No Change in Rules or Mission of U.S. Troops in Niger

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