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Policing the FrontierAn Ethnography of Two Worlds in Niger$
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Mirco Göpfert

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501747212

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501747212.001.0001

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A Story of a Murder, No Traces, and Nothing to Report

A Story of a Murder, No Traces, and Nothing to Report

(p.41) Chapter 3 A Story of a Murder, No Traces, and Nothing to Report
Policing the Frontier

Mirco Göpfert

Cornell University Press

This chapter details how the gendarmes in Godiya dealt with a criminal case that they had never seen before. The case was about an investigation into the murder of two little girls in Tsaga. On their first visit to Tsaga, the gendarmes had “nothing to report”; there were no traces, no witnesses, just the two dead girls' bodies. Eventually, they caught the perpetrator and they interrogated him. Contrary to interim brigade commander Chef Tahirou's initial assumption, the perpetrator was not a Nigerian organ trafficker and the murder weapon was not a machete but an axe. Ultimately, the exceptional quality of this case pushes aspects of the gendarmes' work to the fore that were central to everything they did but would certainly get lost in the description of the trivial everydayness of their usual workdays.

Keywords:   gendarmes, Godiya, criminal case, murder, Tsaga, police work, gendarmerie brigade

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