US, European Countries Evacuate Nationals From Niger As Unrest Spreads

US, European Countries Evacuate Nationals From Niger As Unrest Spreads

Aug. 3, 2023, 7:40 a.m.

The United States and some European countries have started evacuating their nationals from Niger amid mounting unrest in the West African state.

A military unit staged a coup and ousted Niger's pro-Western President Mohamed Bazoum last week. Coup leaders then announced the formation of a military government.

The political turmoil triggered protests against the country's former colonial ruler, France. Demonstrators damaged the French Embassy in the capital Niamey.

The US State Department on Wednesday announced it was ordering the temporary departure of non-emergency US government personnel and eligible family members from the US Embassy in Niamey.

France and Italy have begun flying their citizens out of Niger. More than 350 people have reportedly arrived in France. Japan says two of its nationals have also been evacuated.

West Africa's regional bloc has condemned the coup. The Economic Community of West African States has suggested the use of force unless Bazoum is reinstated by the end of this week. ECOWAS military chiefs held a meeting on Wednesday.

Niger gets most of its electricity from neighboring Nigeria. Nigeria has reportedly cut its supply of power as part of sanctions against the military junta, causing blackouts in major cities in Niger.

But Mali and Burkina Faso, which also neighbor Niger, are warning that any military intervention would be tantamount to a "declaration of war" against them.

The two countries are ruled by juntas that took power in recent years.

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