Niger’s ruling coalition on Thursday called for a national day of protest against Boko Haram following repeated attacks from the Nigerian Islamist militants.
“We call on all citizens to come out in numbers Tuesday February 17 across the country to organise protest marches against” the Islamist insurgents and in support of security forces, said a statement from President Mahamadou Issoufou’s coalition.
Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger this month launched an unprecedented joint effort to crush Boko Haram fighters, who have killed more than 13,000 people in a six-year insurgency.
The ruling coalition urged the nation to “close ranks” and “show their unity in order to face the terrorists of Boko Haram.”
The militants have struck border town Diffa in Niger five times since February 6, the day after Niger announced it planned to send 750 troops into Nigeria to battle the militants.
Niger’s rulers also asked demonstrators to pay homage to the people of Chad for “their solidarity through the remarkable support from their army in the struggle against Boko Haram.”
Chad’s troops, considered the most battle-hardened in the region, have been stationed in Niger for nearly two weeks in preparation for fighting against the Islamist militants.
Niger declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in the region of Diffa, which allows security forces to carry out searches day and night in order to crack down on Boko Haram “sleeper cells” in Niger.