At least 22 people, including several Islamist militants, escaped from prison in Niger’s capital Niamey last weekend.
The well-planned prison break shows that the conflict that last surfaced with the French invasion of neighbouring Mali is not over.
France gets uranium for its nuclear power stations from Niger.
Rebels have gained support as the West has snatched resources while leaving people in poverty.
In the week before the escape rebel groups raided a uranium mine and an army barracks.
Niger’s government is Western ally in the “war on terror” and hosts a US drone base.