France Initiates Evacuation of Citizens from Niger Amidst Security Concerns After Coup

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France Initiates Evacuation of Citizens from Niger Amidst Security Concerns After Coup

In response to the recent coup that toppled Niger’s pro-Western leader, France has commenced the evacuation of its nationals from the country. The decision comes after the French embassy in Niamey was targeted in attacks, and Niger’s airspace was closed, hindering regular departures, as reported by the foreign ministry.

The deteriorating security situation in Niamey prompted France to take swift action to ensure the safety of its citizens. It is estimated that approximately 600 French nationals are currently in Niger, excluding tourists and residents who are currently outside the country. As a gesture of solidarity, France has also offered to evacuate other European nationals who may be facing similar challenges.

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To plan the evacuation, a ministerial meeting was convened by the French government on Tuesday. While no specific timeframe was initially provided, the decision to deploy military personnel transport planes for the evacuation was revealed by a source close to the operation.

READ ALSO: ECOWAS Faces Tensions Over Military Intervention in Niger Republic as Burkina Faso and Mali Rally Support

The political instability in the region has been a cause for concern for both France and the United States. With a series of coups in neighboring countries like Mali and Burkina Faso, Niger’s recent coup marks the third in as many years in the Sahel. In response to the growing jihadist threat, France and the United States have deployed a combined force of 2,600 soldiers in Niger to counter the insurgency.

The situation took a tense turn when Niger’s junta accused France of attempting to “intervene militarily” to reinstate the deposed President Mohamed Bazoum. However, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna denied these allegations, emphasizing that the evacuation was solely aimed at ensuring the safety of French citizens.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his firm commitment to protecting French citizens and interests in the region. He pledged “immediate and uncompromising” action in response to any attacks on French nationals or interests in Niger. This comes after thousands of people rallied outside the French embassy in Niamey, signaling the seriousness of the security concerns in the area.

In light of the unfolding events and the safety risks posed by the ongoing political turmoil, the evacuation of French citizens is a crucial step taken by the French government. As the situation continues to evolve, both France and other international stakeholders will closely monitor the developments in Niger to ensure the safety and security of their nationals.

Source: PunchNG

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