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Ex-extremists complete deradicalization course in Niger

Internally displace people are seen at a camp in Ouallam in Niger during UN secretary general visit on May 3, 2022. An uptick in suspected jihadist attacks in western Niger has since January forced mo
Internally displace people are seen at a camp in Ouallam in Niger during UN secretary general visit on May 3, 2022. An uptick in suspected jihadist attacks in western Niger has since January forced more and more people to flee their homes, according to the UN humanitarian agency. (Photo: AFP)
NIAMEY — More than 40 former Islamist extremists have completed a deradicalization and professional training course in southeast Niger, local authorities said Tuesday.اضافة اعلان

“Forty-two reformed Boko Haram members left the Goudoumaria Training Centre” on Monday in the Diffa region near the Nigerian border, a municipal official said.

Each of the Nigeriens departed equipped with the tools to set up their own mechanics, plumbing, carpentry, sewing, or welding businesses, the authorities said.

They had also followed a course on “practicing moderate Islam” and were made to swear on a copy of the Quran that they would not resort to violence.

Niger, the poorest country in the world according to the UN’s Human Development Index, is facing extremists attacks on two fronts.

Groups linked to Al-Qaeda and Daesh have carried out massacres in the west of the country, while Islamist extremists associated with Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Daesh have conducted attacks in the southeast.

As well as fighting the Boko Haram Islamist extremists, the Nigerien authorities have offered amnesty to those who agree to surrender and rejoin society.

Monday’s group was the third such class to have completed the rehabilitation course, the municipal official said.

Since 2017, the Goudoumaria center has hosted “386 boarders who have successfully followed the re-socialization process”, Interior Minister Hamadou Adamou Souley has said.

General Mahamadou Abou Tarka, the head of a government institution tasked with building dialogue between communities, has said the program has been a success, and would be repeated in the restive Tillaberi region in the west of the country.

The interior minister and UN officials last week visited the site of a new center for “the social rehabilitation of former fighters of armed groups” in Tillaberi, public television reported.

Tents and a water tower had been set up at the site in the Hamdalaye district.

The huge and unstable region of Tillaberi, around 100,000sq.km. in size, is located in the so-called “three borders” area between Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali and has been the scene of several bloody attacks by extremists movements since 2017.

Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, in a new approach, has initiated dialogue with Islamist extremist leaders in an attempt to keep the peace.


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