US announces partial evacuation of embassy in Niger

Niger has been a key Western ally to battle Islamic insurgents in the region

NIGER-SECURITY/ General Abdourahmane Tiani, who was declared as the new head of state of Niger by leaders of a coup, arrives to meet with ministers in Niamey, Niger | Reuters

The US Embassy, on Wednesday, ordered the evacuation of some of its staff and family members from Niger following the military coup last week.

“On July 26, President Mohamed Bazoum was placed under house arrest amidst efforts to overthrow the democratically elected government of Niger. Subsequent events have severely limited flight options,” the State Department said in a statement, CNN reported.

“The US Embassy in Niamey has temporarily reduced its personnel, suspended routine services, and is only able to provide emergency assistance to US citizens in Niger,” the statement said.

Niger has been a key Western ally to battle Islamic insurgents in the region. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Wednesday, spoke to the ousted President, Mohamed Bazoum, and said the US is committed to the restoration of Niger's democratically elected government.

The US is not evacuating all its diplomats nor is it shuttering its embassy. The 1,100 US troops in Niger aren't expected to leave the country either. The US, a major contributor of humanitarian and security aid had previously warned that a coup could lead to suspension of all cooperation.

The Spokesperson for US State Department Matthew Miller said, "We remain committed to the people of Niger and our relationship with the people of Niger and we remain diplomatically engaged at the highest levels," BBC reported.

France, on Wednesday, said that it would evacuate French nationals from Niger. Italian foreign ministry announced that a special flight would be arranged to evacuate Italian nationals from the country.  France has also suspended financial and developmental aid.

Niger's neighbours—Mali and Burkina Faso have also experienced coups in recent years. General Abdourahamane Tchiani seized power on 26 July, saying he wanted to avert "the gradual and inevitable demise" of Niger. 

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