Petition for Peace in Niger

Tensions between Niger's government and the nomadic Tuareg peoples have been recurring for many years.  In a violent turn, soldiers have been deployed to Niger's uranium-rich Tuareg lands-- we urge the President of Niger to reconsider the military solution and open dialogue with the Tuareg Niger Movement for Justice, NMJ. 

Petition for peace in Niger

History repeats itself but lessons have not been learned in the case of war and rebellions in Africa. In almost all cases of rebellions, both sides %u2013 the government and the rebels have come to the negotiating table when much damage has already been done. In Niger, this was the case during the Tuareg rebellionof the 1990s. After much animosity, and when the country was on the brink of civil war, only then, did common sense finally prevail and the two sides, the government of Niger and the Front for Liberation of Air and Azawagh (FLAA) sat down at the table to discuss reconcialiation, which ended with a 1995 peace deal. Earlier this year, the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ) took up arms, saying the terms of that deal were not being implemented and citing other injustices against the people of the Air region. The situation is now getting intense, with the army killing innocent civilians and the rebel group attacking military bases and inflicting significant loss of life among the military.

The people of Niger want Peace.  All branches of Government including the National Assembly, %u201Cthe executive branch led by the Prime Minister, as well as the opposition and civil society are calling for dialogue but the President chooses to ignore the call for peace and he is not even ready to recognize the group as rebels.  He has called them %u201Ca bunch of bandits.%u201D The President of Niger persists in ignoring this political reality as he did during the famine of 2005. 

Given the gravity of the situation and the failure of the President to assume his responsibility, we, the people of the Nigerien Diaspora, as well as friends of Niger around the world, call on the President of Niger to listen to the people.  We call on him to bring the people of Niger to the negotiating table and to work to resolve their differences in a peaceful manner.  War is the last thing the people of Niger need at this time.  The President of Niger should do whatever is needed to help the impoverished people of Niger rebuild their lives, their homes, and their communities.  Because the President might still not listen, we call on all of the civil society in Niger to increase the pressure on the President to urge him to pay attention to the gravity of the situation. There are simply no military solutions to end the bloodshed. The President%u2019s policies of sending more troops to the North is a dangerous move that will result in more bloodshed and might end up pushing Niger toward civil war.  Mr. President, it is time to abandon his military model to find a conflict-resolution model aimed at a peace process and a negotiated political settlement.

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