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The illicit trafficking of small arms, light weapons and ammunition in Niger continues to increase internal and external security threats in the country, despite its political stability since the 2010 coup d’état. Located at the confluence of the Sahel’s most violent conflicts, Niger faces growing threats from cross-border al-Qaeda- and Islamic State-affiliated groups, pushing its national forces to become more involved militarily on multiple fronts in the region.1 In 2015, it joined the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to support the Nigerian government in the fight against Boko Haram.2

Actors such as the African Union; the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR); the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC); the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States (RECSA); the Multinational Small Arms and Ammunition Group (MSAG); the Mines Advisory Group (MAG); and Handicap International have been working with officials in the country to prevent arms trafficking and support the through-life management of ammunition. Efforts have included conducting weapons and ammunition baseline assessments; providing marking equipment and explosives for ammunition destruction; organising workshops on international standards for small arms and light weapons and ammunition; and training national forces and representatives in physical security and stockpile management.3

"Niger," Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project (RULAC), Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, updated August 18, 2022,

"Weapons and Ammunition Management Country Insight: Niger,” UNIDIR, November 13, 2020,

“Ammunition Management Activity Platform (A-MAP),” GICHD, 2022,

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Map of Niger

Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, no accidental explosions have been reported in Niger.

Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021,

Cases of diversion

Several cases of diversion have been reported since 2013 in Niger. 

Table 1. Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition and explosives in Niger since 2013

Year Location Description
2016 Tassara An unidentified armed group of ten people from Mali attacked the Tassara refugee camp, killing 22 members of the security forces. The attackers took several vehicles, 5 handguns, 29 AK-type assault rifles, 2 general-purpose machine guns and a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun.
2016 Bosso Boko Haram attacked the southern town of Bosso and its military camp, killing 32 members of the security forces and seizing significant quantities of small arms and light weapons, as well as heavier weapons, ammunition and vehicles.
2015 N/A A network of members of the security forces (including an armourer) diverted ammunition – mainly 7.62 × 39 mm – that they then sold on locally.
2014 Ouallam In 2015, several young, ex-Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) Fulani were caught by the Nigerien security forces attempting to transport arms and ammunition into Niger. According to an investigator working on the case, some of this materiel had been stolen from security officers during the attack on Ouallam prison in 2014.
2013 N/A A senior officer stole from state arms supplies and sold a number of new Type 56-1 assault rifles after removing their serial numbers to make tracing more difficult.

Source: Savannah de Tessières, At the Crossroads of Sahelian Conflicts: Insecurity, Terrorism, and Arms Trafficking in Niger (Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2018),; Savannah de Tessières, Measuring Illicit Arms Flows: Niger (Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2017),


Insufficient data on disposal of tonnes of ammunition in Niger.



To further enhance safe and secure ammunition management, the following needs have been identified for Niger: 

  • Development or refinement of standards and procedures on stockpile management;
  • Capacity development for the destruction of surplus stockpiles; and
  • Conducting a national survey on weapons and ammunition.

Source: Niger, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Niger to the UN, 2018; "Needs Analysis Dataset," AMAT (Ammunition Management Advisory Team), 2022; UNIDIR Country Insight series,


Published Date: Friday 17 of November 2023