Niger/Benin – The construction of the last phase of the Benin Niger railway in southwest Niger, in particular the section between Dosso and Parakou, may face moderate disruption from Nigeria-based Islamist groups.

The disruption is may be caused by targeted attacks on construction sites and equipment, as well as the potential kidnapping of expatriates, according to law firm ENS.

The construction of the railway comes at a time when Benin is joining forces with Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, under the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), to fight Islamist groups Ansaru and Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the signing of two final agreements, between Prime ministers of Benin and Niger and the director general of French firm Bolloré Group, relating to the construction and management of the Niger-Benin intercity railway was met with resistance, especially from some politicians and interest groups, who were opposed to Bolloré securing the contract to manage the railway.

The 1,050-kilometre railway, when completed, will connect Niger’s landlocked capital Niamey to Benin’s seaport in the capital Cotonou.

In April 2014, construction work on the railway began linking Niamey to Dosso in the southwest, a key transport hub where a dry port is being constructed.

The final agreements pave the way for the completion of the rest of the railway line from Dosso to Parakou in Benin, scheduled for mid-2016.

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