Eleven international NGOs demanded, on Saturday 11 December, the release of five civil society actors, including a Frenchman, arrested in Niamey in Niger, on the sidelines of the celebration of International Human Rights Day, which took place the day before. She was aiming “To sensitize the populations of Niamey on respect for fundamental rights and the benefits of a democratic system”.
These organizations specify, in a press release, that after the departure of the caravan from the headquarters of the association Tournons La Page (TLP) Niger in Niamey, the police arrested fifteen activists, including “Four were questioned and taken into custody at the central police station in Niamey” or “They will spend the night for unauthorized assembly”. These four Nigerien activists arrested, who are part of TLP Niger, are Armadan Moussa, Biliyaminou Idi, Mubarak Habou and Hima Hamani.
The fifth person arrested, Mathieu Pourchier, is a French employee of the organization Agir Ensemble pour les Droits Humans. Also “in charge of protection and advocacy” for the international secretariat of TLP, in Niamey, he “Was not part of the caravanners” and was “Arrested in town by four plainclothes police officers while he was riding a motorbike”, noted these NGOs.
“The four members of TLP and Mathieu Pourchier are still kept in the police station”, said in the early evening to Agence France-Presse (AFP) Maikoul Zodi, national coordinator of the TLP movement. “The others, including taxi drivers and journalists, have been released”, he clarified.
Demonstration prohibited Sunday
The signatories of the press release “Call the authorities of Niger” in particular “Release immediately” those arrested and “Put an end to any practice of harassment against members of civil society”.
NGOs specify that “These events take place in a context of sharp tensions between Tournons La Page Niger, supported by numerous civil society organizations in Niger, and the Nigerien government”.
The organizations make a link with incidents which took place at the end of November during the passage, in the west of Nigeria, of a French military convoy going to Gao, in Mali. Since “The clashes of Téra (3 dead and 18 wounded during a clash between citizens and a convoy of the French army supported by the Nigerien gendarmerie), TLP demands justice and asks to be able to demonstrate to denounce the insecurity and the stagnation of the Barkhane force in the country ”, advance the press release. “In view of the consequences for TLP, it seems obvious that the Nigerien state considers this subject as a red line”, is it still written.
Nigerien justice has banned a demonstration scheduled for Sunday, December 5 by TLP in Niamey to protest and demand the departure of Western military bases, especially French, present in Niger as part of the anti-jihadist fight.
Operation Barkhane, the end of which was announced in June by Emmanuel Macron, and which is in the process of being withdrawn, consisted, since 2014, of the deployment of French military forces in the Sahel to fight against the jihadist threat raging in this region.
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A Frenchman arrested in Niger, on the sidelines of the celebration of International Human Rights Day