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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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France Starts Evacuating Citizens From Niger

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Mali and Burkina Faso’s warning of a war forced France to start evacuating hundreds of French and European citizens from Niger on Tuesday.

However, there is no mention of evacuation of the soldiers from the western countries of the United States, Germany, and Italy who have been stationed in Niger for purposes of counter-insurgency and training missions.

Niger’s West African neighbours, Mali and Burkina Faso, said a day before that any force from outside trying to reinstate the ousted government would provoke war.

The evacuation moves comes a week after Niger’s military forced democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum out of power last Wednesday. The military coup in Niger is the seventh in less than three years in the West African region.

Niger’s ousted President Mohamed Bazoum has been continuing to be hold up in its palace, while the military junta has arrested his other senior politicians and threatened against outside attempts at restoring the former government.

“Considering the ongoing coup in Niger and the fact that the situation continues to be worrying, we decided to make sure that the French citizens who want to leave Niger can do so,” said French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna on France’s LCI TV.

She believed that hundreds of people from France and the rest of the EU wanted to be transferred on flights that she anticipated would take place over the course of a day.

A plane with a French military registration was seen leaving the airfield in the capital Niamey on Tuesday night, according to Flightradar, real-time flight radar. Photos supplied by British news agency Reuters revealed that a group of foreigners had earlier congregated outside the terminal with their baggage.

The coup has jolted Africa’s most poorest and unstable region of Sahel, situated in West Africa. The region’s bloc ECOWAS has warned of using force to get back the democracy in Niger, meanwhile responding to this, Mali and Burkina Faso showed determination for Niger’s defence.

ECOWAS has made various attempts to bring member nations Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea to bring back democracy.

Monday’s declaration by Mali and Burkina Faso can be a signal for an opposition alliance in making against the 15-member-state bloc. A joint statement released by them stated, “Mali and Burkina Faso warn that any military intervention in Niger will be considered as a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali,”

If ECOWAS intervened, they threatened to leave the organisation and take “measures of legitimate defence” to assist the Niger army and populace. Military authorities in Guinea also reaffirmed their support for Niger.

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