Benin Arrests 5 Nigeriens for Unauthorized Entry at WAPCO Site


(Ecofin Agency) – Benin’s special prosecutor Mario Metonou announced on Thursday the arrest of five Nigerien nationals within Benin’s borders. According to Metonou, the individuals allegedly entered the WAPCO-Benin terminal site through unauthorized means, claiming to be employees of WAPCO-Niger using counterfeit badges.

“These individuals chose a back entrance instead of the main gate, and justified their unauthorized entry by presenting WAPCO-Niger badges, claiming exemption from registration at the security booth,” the prosecutor’s statement read. “Such justifications hold no weight given the sensitivity of the site.”

The arrests come amid strained relations following Niger’s accusations that Benin harbors French legionnaires and trains terrorists to attack Niger, allegations denied by Beninese authorities who seek to ease tensions through dialogue. Despite Chinese mediation that briefly resolved an oil cargo standoff at the Sèmè-Podji port, relations have continued to sour.

Benin responded to Niger’s border closure by shutting down a river route used for trade and passenger transport, exacerbating the diplomatic standoff. Metonou stated that two of the detained Nigeriens are allegedly operatives of the Conseil national pour la sauvegarde de la patrie (CNSP), who fabricated WAPCO Niger employee badges.

“Investigations are ongoing to ascertain the true motives of the accused, amidst recurring reports of planned threats to Benin’s national security,” Metonou added.

Niger’s Justice and Petroleum ministers have demanded the release of the detainees, threatening to halt crude oil flow through the pipeline starting from Koulélé. Among those arrested reportedly includes Moumouni Ibra Hadiza, WAPCO’s deputy general manager.

The situation remains tense as both countries navigate complex diplomatic and security challenges in the region.


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