Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 2 November 2018, 09:03 NZDT
  • Still current at: 19 November 2018

Do not travel

Do not travel outside the capital Niamey due to the threat of terrorism and kidnapping, the presence of armed militants and the unpredictable security situation.

Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to Niamey due to the threat of kidnapping, violent crime and civil unrest.

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Terrorism
There is a high threat from terrorism in Niger. Terrorist groups are especially active in northern parts of the country and in recent years there have been terrorist attacks in various parts of the north. Since 2013, there have been a number of retaliatory attacks against the Niger government for its participation in regional interventions in Mali and Nigeria to repel armed rebels.

The Nigerian-based terrorist group Boko Haram has a strong presence in neighbouring areas of northern Nigeria and has conducted cross-border attacks in Niger, near the Nigerian border, particularly in the Diffa region. A state of emergency and a curfew are currently in effect in Niger’s Diffa region.

Terrorist attacks could occur at any time and may be directed at locations known to be frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers, as well as security forces and premises associated with the Government of Niger.

New Zealanders are advised to be security conscious at all times, particularly in public areas. We recommend monitoring media reports and local information sources for possible threats to your safety and security.

Kidnapping
There is a high threat of kidnapping against foreigners in Niger, including in the capital Niamey. The risk increases substantially outside Niamey, in the north of the country and in border areas. Terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), who are active in Niger have been known to specifically target foreigners. In October 2016, an American aid worker was kidnapped in Abalak, central Niger. In the past, foreigners have been kidnapped from their vehicles, homes and places of work.

Violent crime
Crime levels in Niger are high, especially in the capital city of Niamey, and foreigners are frequently targeted. Muggings are common in Niamey around the Gawaye Hotel, the National Museum, Kennedy Bridge and the Petit Marché, particularly at night. New Zealanders are advised not to walk alone or after dark in these areas. Other common types of crime include home invasions, carjackings and theft.

Armed bandits operate throughout eastern Niger, the border area with Nigeria south of Zinder, and large parts of northern Niger are off-limits to tourists.

Local travel
New Zealanders who decide to travel outside Niamey against our advice should ensure they put in place appropriate personal security protection measures. We recommend travelling in convoy of at least two vehicles, with a local guide and only during daylight hours. Attacks have occurred on the Agadez-Arlit, Agedez-Tahoua, and Tillabery-Niamey roads. You should prepare well in advance and ensure all vehicles are fully equipped with essential supplies, including a satellite phone. 

We advise against the use of public transport in Niger. There have been incidents of armed robbery resulting in deaths on buses in Niger. Taxis are often under-maintained and dangerous and should be avoided. It is recommended that you hire a private car with a driver. Lock car doors and keep windows shut at all times.

Local authorities are senstitive about foreigners travelling out of Tahoua to the east or north of Niger. If you travel in the Agadez region without obtaining prior authorisation, you risk arrest or deportation.

Civil unrest
Niger frequently experiences protests and demonstrations, usually near government buildings and university campuses, some of which have turned violent in the past. New Zealanders are advised to follow any advice issued by the local authorities and avoid all demonstrations, protests and rallies as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning.

Landmines
There is a danger from unexploded landmines in some parts of Niger, including in Niamey and in the northern region of Agadez. We recommend you remain on well-used roads and paths.

Scams
Commercial and internet fraud is a common problem in many African countries. New Zealanders in Niger should be wary of any offers that seem too good to be true, as they may be a scam. For further information see our advice on Internet Fraud and International Scams.

General travel advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Niger to avoid offending local sensitivities.

As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Niger, the ability of the government to provide consular assistance to New Zealand citizens is severely limited.

We offer advice to New Zealanders about contingency planning that travellers to Niger should consider.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Niger should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Niger are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

See our regional advice for Africa

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