Frustration follows French restrictions on Niger

By August 28, 2020

Niger (MNN) — People in Niger are angry, Macau Business reports, following a French travel warning issued earlier this month. Travel warnings affect tourism and, as one of the world’s poorest countries, Niger can’t afford any economic loss.

“Niger is a fragile state,” says Open Doors’ senior analyst Illia Djadi. “The country is doing its best to deal with the Islamist insurgencies [and] the consequences of the COVID pandemic. [The travel warning adds] more pressure on the whole community; namely, the religious minority.”

France issued the warning after an August 9 terror attack that left six French aid workers and two locals dead. Five days later, the French Prime Minister likened the violence to a 2015 terrorist attack in Paris that killed more than 100 people

Many Nigeriens view the travel advisory as an exaggeration and betrayal. “[France is] basically saying, ‘Niger is a difficult country. You can’t go to Niger.’ That’s the message,” Djadi summarizes.

“That’s why the Nigeriens are shocked by this warning coming from France, which is a key ally in the fight against Islamist insurgency in Niger and the rest of the Sahara.”

The real story in Niger

Muslim-majority Niger has few believers. Pray they won’t suffer loss from these political developments. “Pray for all this; for the Christians, even though they are a minority, to continue to exercise their faith freely,” Djadi requests.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

“Christians form a tiny minority, but the Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion so [there is] a clear separation between political power and religion.”

More about the state of Christianity in Niger here.

While some believers from a Muslim background face oppression from their family, Nigerien Christians have a fair amount of freedom in the wider society. Thanks to stability and security throughout most of Niger, Djadi says Christians can live out the Gospel as the Lord directs.

Pray for continued stability and ministry opportunities.

“Churches and Christians are very active in social activities; providing education, providing relief. Without security, it’s very difficult – if not impossible – to do [this ministry].”

If you know believers reconsidering mission plans in Niger following the August 9 attacks, share this article with them. Pray the Lord guides each decision according to His will.

“Unlike what France says, you can travel safely [in Niger]. Even though the country is facing Islamist insurgency or threats coming from the Nigerian border from Boko Haram, or close to the Mali border, it doesn’t mean the whole country is affected by insurgency,” Djadi says.

“A number of Western missionaries from the U.S., from Switzerland, from other countries, are living and traveling in Niger.”



Header image courtesy of Open Doors USA.