Niger: Another kidnap in the north

The French press is reporting that a French tourist and an Algerian guide were kidnapped by armed men today in northern Niger, near the well at In-Abangaret. Also spelled Inabangaret, it’s a stopping place on the Azzouagh plain’s Tahoua/Assamakka/Tamanrasset road. This puts it relatively near the attack of several months ago on the Tahoua/Tillia road, and within reach of the band that carried out the attack on a Tillaberi army post last month. They were traced as far as the hills of west of Tin-Essako in Mali’s northern Gao Region. While In-Abangaret doesn’t come up in the news much, it is an important seasonal gathering point for some Tuareg communities (there is a “In-Abangaret Cross” in the famed Tuareg armorial tradition), as well as being in the midst a Berabiche transhumance zone. A hand grenade attack on Algerian truckers there in 1997 caused concern, with former members of one of the Arab rebel factions blamed for running a protection racket against long haul transport.

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