WASHINGTON — Niger police re-captured three Islamists accused of inciting terrorism after a failed prison break. Reuters reports they killed 2 prison guards and an additional 3 other people were wounded in the escape.
The prison block was cordoned off by police and illustrates the escalating tensions between national governments and recent raids by al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamist militants. Niger had suffered from an al-Qaeda raid on a uranium mine and army barracks this past month.
The recent civil war in Mali, which the government barely survived an Islamist uprising, has been feared to spread to other African countries. Sudan had apprehended purported Malian militants and Nigeria is facing its own Islamist uprising with the notorious Boko Haram militant group.
Niger has a security pact with Nigeria and Nigeria has requested assistance in fighting Boko Haram.
Mali has been stabilized to an extent, but with the French withdrawal and an under-supplied African contingent entering the country, people worry that it won’t last. Chad withdrew its troops to stay closer to home with surging Islamist violence in its neighboring countries, which could be problematic as Chadian troops were the only ones specialized in desert warfare. Malian Islamist strongholds are in the desert regions of the country.