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Niger Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Jan 12, 2011

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Niger, and urges extreme caution due to increased kidnapping threats against Westerners.

Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a terrorist group, continues its attempts to kidnap Westerners, including U.S. citizens, in Niger and has been successful in kidnapping Europeans in the region. On January 7, two French nationals were kidnapped in the capital city of Niamey. They were found dead less than 24 hours later following a rescue attempt by French and Nigerien military forces. In September 2010, seven people, including five French citizens, a Togolese national, and a Malagasy citizen, were kidnapped by AQIM from the northern mining town of Arlit. All are still being held hostage by AQIM. On April 2010, a French citizen and his Algerian driver were kidnapped. The Algerian was freed. AQIM claimed to have killed the French citizen in retaliation for the July attempted rescue operation conducted by Mauritanian and French military forces. In November 2009, heavily armed individuals attempted to kidnap U.S. Embassy officials in Tahoua.

Due to these ongoing security threats and in view of the January 7 incident, the U.S. Embassy in Niamey has heightened its security posture and is temporarily suspending travel outside Niamey by U.S. government officials until further notice. Official personnel assigned to the Embassy are observing an 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew, and avoiding large public events. The Embassy urges all U.S. citizens in Niger to heighten their vigilance.

Although the U.S. Government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to kidnappers.

You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the web site of the U.S. Embassy in Niger. You can also get global updates at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information, as well as our Twitter and Facebook accounts. If you don't have internet access, we have a call center for updates -- 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or outside the United States and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except federal holidays).

If you are going to live in or travel to Niger, please take the time to tell us about your trip by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP - https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/ ). If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date. It is important during enrollment or updating of information to include your current phone number and current email address where you can be reached in case of an emergency.

The U.S. Embassy in Niamey (http://niamey.usembassy.gov/) is located on Rue des Ambassades, tel. (227) 20-72-26-61.

The Embassy fax number is (227) 20-73-31-67 and (227) 20-72-31-46.

The after-hours emergency number is tel. (227) 20-72-31-41. Ask to speak with the duty officer.

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