Two French nationals were freed on Monday, a day after they were taken hostage by residents of Niamey angered over heightened security measures that were put in place near foreign embassies following a double terrorist attack in late May.
Two French nationals were freed on Monday, a day after they were taken hostage by Niamey residents angered over the heightened security measures that have been in place near foreign embassies following terrorist attacks in late May in northern Niger, officials said.
Televised images of the French nationals, who were being held in an undisclosed location, show them to be in “good health”, Niamey Governor Hamidou Garba told AFP on Sunday.The hostages were being held in an attempt to negotiate the release of several protesters, a resident from the Goudel quarter told AFP.
Clashes with security forces near western Niamey’s Niger River waterfront resulted in 37 wounded on Sunday, including 26 security officers and 11 protesters, Garba said.
“They burned a checkpoint security and threw stones at the Nigerian embassy,” he said.
Sixteen demonstrators were arrested.
Residents have been protesting for months over the increased security measures, which they say have disrupted their way of life.
“We are very angry, these barriers prevent us from going downtown normally,” one resident told AFP, adding that ambulances and hearses are forced to take long detours.
The heightened security was introduced following a May 23 double terrorist attack targeting a military barracks in Agadez and a uranium mine operated by French firm Areva that left at least 20 people dead.