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  #1  
Old 22 Aug 2006
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Niger - Chad: some bandits and a possible kidnapping

It looks like there's been a roberry or more on Tchad/Niger frontier....

Rome - Two Italian tourists are still being held by bandits in Niger, after most of their tour group was released, said Italian foreign ministry on Tuesday.

The ministry said: "Two people, both Italians, are being held."

The ministry said it had established contact with other members of the group.

It said earlier that 21 Italians had been abducted on Monday and later released in the desert area of south-east Niger, near the border with Chad.

http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/...986863,00.html
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  #2  
Old 22 Aug 2006
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Exclamation

Hi,
I can confirm (first hand) the robbery and tentative kidnapping, 2 pax still did not return to the group.
It happened about 200km south of Bilma.

The risk for kidnapping in that sout east are is still extremely high!

If somebody knows about travellers in that area or heading there please warn them. The threat is realy serious.

Yves
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  #3  
Old 23 Aug 2006
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Yves,
can you provide any details about what happened and where? News reports are sketchy. It looks like the incident happened on a very unusual piste. Did the group pass through Bilma first? Was the group followed? Any news on the missing two?

best regards,
Richard
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  #4  
Old 23 Aug 2006
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Hi Richard,
the piste indeed was unusual. It happened near Agadem.
I prefer to wait some more days to get more precise infos.

But regardless what happened: with the political problems in Chad in mind, the last rebellion, the whole SE of Niger and Chad shall be avoided by travellers.

Yves
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  #5  
Old 25 Aug 2006
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news about italian

Hi there
For those speaking french, this is some nems about the italian in Niger- Tchad area.
Cheers
Olivier


Niger: les touristes enlevés ont été libérés
Le groupe de touristes, parmi lesquels 21 Italiens, enlevés lundi au Niger ont "tous retrouvé leur liberté mardi et sont en bonne condition physique", a annoncé à l'AFP un porte-parole du ministère italien des Affaires étrangères.

L'information de la libération des touristes a été confirmée mardi par Niamey.

"Leurs ravisseurs les ont laissés en liberté après quelques heures. Visiblement, il ne s'agissait que d'une attaque visant à les dévaliser", a déclaré le porte-parole italien.

Il a précisé que Rome tenait ses informations d'un touriste allemand faisant partie du groupe mais qui avait donné l'alerte après être parvenu à échapper à l'attaque.

"Pour l'instant, nous n'avons pas d'autres précisions. Le touriste allemand est en contact avec eux, mais nous n'avons pas eu de contact direct depuis Rome avec le groupe", a ajouté le porte-parole.

Le gouvernement nigérien a finalement confirmé mardi, après une certaine confusion, que 29 touristes, essentiellement des Italiens, avaient été attaqués puis relâchés lundi dans l'est du Niger par une bande armée et qu'ils étaient "en bonne santé".

"Les touristes enlevés sont en bonne santé et ont été relâchés. Ils étaient dans un convoi de 11 véhicules" comprenant 29 personnes, en majorité des Italiens, ainsi qu'un Allemand et une Brésilienne, a déclaré à l'AFP le porte-parole du gouvernement nigérien Mohamed Ben Omar.

"Ils sont rentrés du Tchad sans enregistrement ni identification vers Agadem (extrême sud-est), avec l'intention de remonter vers Bilma (300 km plus au nord). Ils ont été attaqués par des agresseurs non identifiés qui les ont immédiatement relâchés", a-t-il précisé, citant des sources policières locales.

Ces sources n'ont pu préciser si ces touristes avaient été détroussés.

"C'est une zone poreuse et dangereuse. Ils ont été extrêmement imprudents", a-t-il poursuivi, précisant que les touristes avaient ensuite continué leur route vers Bilma.

Le ministère italien des Affaires étrangères avait annoncé mardi qu'un groupe de plus d'une vingtaine de touristes, dont 21 Italiens, avait été enlevé lundi après-midi "par une bande dans la zone désertique du sud-est du Niger, près de la frontière avec le Tchad".

Mais un porte-parole du gouvernement nigérien avait affirmé un peu plus tard à l'AFP que deux touristes italiens et non 21 avaient été enlevés, démentant les informations diffusées à Rome. Il avait en outre situé la zone de l'enlèvement "à l'est d'Agadez", soit dans le nord du Niger et non dans le sud-est.

L'est et le nord-est désertiques nigériens sont traditionnellement le repaire de trafiquants et de bandes armées, et ont été le théâtre dans les années 1990 de rébellions des ethnies toubous et touarègues réclamant le développement de leurs régions déshéritées.
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  #6  
Old 25 Aug 2006
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Hi,

actually probably the most comprehensive articel about the incident:
http://translate.google.com/translat...language_tools
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  #7  
Old 26 Aug 2006
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Hi all,

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/5288048.stm

The statement [by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Sahara (Fars)] [...] contained a warning to tourists to avoid the area until "the situation with the Niger government has been cleared".

"Those people who do not respect this condition will be captured at their own risk," it added.
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  #8  
Old 26 Aug 2006
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They may correct it but at the time of writing the BBC link above says:
"The [FARS] group, which is believed to be largely made up of Tuareg tribespeople"

There are no Tuareg in eastern Niger and FARS (if that's who they are) were a Tubu rebel group - not Tuareg - which is a big difference. Given the route that the huge tourist convoy took (Kufra, Ounianga, etc) it makes the regretable events a bit more predictable, IMO.

Chris S

** 30 Aug, the BBC article has been corrected...

Last edited by Chris Scott; 30 Aug 2006 at 08:51.
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  #9  
Old 26 Aug 2006
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Question Witch road

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott
They may correct it but at the time of writing the BBC link above says:
"The [FARS] group, which is believed to be largely made up of Tuareg tribespeople"

There are no Tuareg in eastern Niger and FARS (if that's who they are) were a Tubu rebel group - not Tuareg - which is a big difference. Given the route that the huge tourist convoy took (Kufra, Ounianga, etc) it makes the regretable events a bit more predictable, IMO.

Chris S
Hi Chris
Do you now witch road the group took? I plan to drive back home in few weeks by the lake Chad road. Is it far from the attacks was?
Thanks a lot
Cheers
Olivier
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  #10  
Old 26 Aug 2006
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Hi,
they travelled from somewhere north of Nguigmi to Agadem.
The whole Lake Tchad area is not safe.

see:
http://www.tchadactuel.com/main.php?...belles-toubous
Yves
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Last edited by Yves; 27 Aug 2006 at 12:53.
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  #11  
Old 30 Aug 2006
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Post news about italians

Hi there
There's some news about the 2 Italian hostages. What a strange story!! At RFI, they said that the 2 hostages refused to give their car to the bandits and finally ask to go with them!?!?!
By the way, for those speaking french, this is some nems up to date.

http://www.rfi.fr/actufr/articles/080/article_45844.asp

Cheers
Olivier
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  #12  
Old 31 Aug 2006
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Hi,

still very confusing, "Italian tourist seized in Niger says not prisoner"

http://today.reuters.com/News/Crises...ryId=L30112820

Yves
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  #13  
Old 6 Sep 2006
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No Niger visa

The Niger government is reported to be upset at the Italians, both released and not, as they all entered Niger illegally without visas. Word is that they clearly knew they would travel through Niger and intentionally avoided getting the visas. The authorities are also unhappy that Niger is getting the blame for the attack by so-called rebels. This is not a group that is associated at all with the Tuareg.
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  #14  
Old 6 Sep 2006
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<and intentionally avoided getting the visas.>

So it's likely they came direct across the Djourab into Niger, not via Lake Chad. The Niger govt is right to be annoyed at negative publicity but unless the group had a huge range or local connections they would have probably tried for visas at Bilma - the local prefecture. It's tricky to get fuel in Dirkou (the only source for ??20-odd cars) without handing in your passport for stamping - the Customs run the show there.

Ch
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  #15  
Old 6 Sep 2006
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fake visa

It seems the Italians had fake visa, made at home with a good scanning machine. That's ta least what I read in teh Italian press.
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