"The FIMA will indeed take place on the planned dates, that's to say November 23 to 27 in Niamey," Alphadi told AFP, adding that "what happened has nothing to do with the holding of the FIMA."
The festival is "a key event for Niger and it will be bigger than ever," added the designer, whose full name is Seidnaly Sidahmed Alphadi."We are going to open Niger to Europeans and show the world that Niger is a safe country," he vowed, referring to a threat to the vast northwest African nation by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which has kidnapped Westerners in Niger's desert regions.
Alphadi's workshops in the centre of Niamey were ravaged on Thursday by a blaze of unknown origin.
Founded in 1998 by Alphadi, the FIMA festival takes place every two years and is an opportunity for African and European fashion designers to meet, learn and share. For the 8th FIMA this year, Alphadi is due to present his own work along with that of several other designers.
In 2000, his premises were vandalised by Islamic extremists hostile to the holding of a fashion show in Niger, which is a mostly Muslim country.
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