Niamey – Africa’s prime fashion event, the two-yearly FIMA festival in Niger, was called off on Tuesday on the eve of its launch over fears of terror attacks, Niger designer Alphadi announced.
“The Niger government has decided to postpone this 10th edition of FIMA due to events in Diffa [southeast Niger], Mali, Chad, Cameroon, France,” said Alphadi, a prominent couturier whose real name is Seidnaly Sidhamed.
Due to have gathered about 1 000 designers, models and fashion types from 40 nations for Africa’s November 25-29 fashion week, the festival will take place “very soon”, he added without giving a date.
Armed jihadists and suicide bombers from Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamist group have staged repeated attacks since February in Niger’s southeast Diffa region near Nigeria, leaving hundreds of people dead.
Alphadi, whose collections feature worldwide, said the postponement also aimed to show “compassion” for neighboring Mali, in national mourning after an attack on a luxury hotel last week that left 19 people dead.
First held in 1998, the Niger fashion get-together gathers buyers and stylists as well as showcasing the latest creations in African sculpture, art and jewellery.
Musicians and sports VIPs also attend.
Professional footballers Samuel Eto’o from Cameroon and Ivorian Yaya Toure were expected for this year’s launch in Niger’s biggest stadium.
The last 2013 edition was held under tight security in fear of an attack by the al-Qaeda Islamic Maghreb (AQMI).
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