Security in Niamey: an anthropological perspective on policing and an act of terrorism in Niger*


The abduction of two Frenchmen in January 2011 in Niamey’s supposedly most secure neighbourhood has led many to question the functioning of the city’s security apparatus. This paper analyses Niamey’s security landscape, initially from an historical and then from a spatial perspective. It argues that for a comprehensive analysis of security, we must first decentre our perspective on security construction, and thus take informal non-organised modes of policing just as seriously as policing by state and vigilante organisations; and second, take into account the inseparability of sociality and security, a fragile balance of trust and acceptable risk. In conclusion I argue that this focus may be one way of comprehending the kidnapping: how was it possible and what were its implications for Niamey’s security landscape?


Publication Type Journal Article
Publisher 2012
Year 2012
Author(s) Gopfert M
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