France to start evacuation for its electorate, EU nationals in Niger | Information

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The French foreign ministry says evacuation plans were already under way for European nationals living in Niger.

The French foreign ministry has said plans to evacuate French citizens are underway in the West African state of Niger, days after President Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown by members of his presidential guard.

“Considering the situation in Niamey, the violence against our embassy the day before yesterday and the fact that the air space is shut and our citizens cannot leave by their own means, France is preparing the evacuation of its citizens and (other) European citizens who want to leave the country,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The evacuation will start today,” it said.

Last Wednesday’s overthrow of President Bazoum – the seventh military takeover in less than three years in West and Central Africa – has sent shockwaves across the region.

On Sunday, supporters of the coup burned French flags and attacked the French embassy in Niger’s capital, Niamey, prompting police to fire volleys of tear gas in response. In response, French President Emmanuel Macron said any attacks on French interests in Niger would be met with a “swift and uncompromising response”.

According to the foreign ministry website, there were less than 1,200 French nationals in Niger in 2022.

Italy’s foreign minister also said on Tuesday that the government would arrange a special flight to repatriate nationals from Niamey, the capital of Niger, after a military takeover took place in the African state.

“The Italian government has decided to offer our fellow citizens in Niamey the chance to leave the city on a special flight to Italy,” Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani posted on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Landlocked Niger has had a turbulent political history since gaining independence in 1960. Before Wednesday, there had been four coups and numerous other attempts, including two previously against Bazoum.

France has had troops in the region for a decade helping to fight armed groups, but some locals say they want the former colonial ruler to stop intervening in their affairs.

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