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Over 350 French citizens evacuated from Niger: FM

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Paris: Over 350 French citizens have been evacuated from Niger due to a military coup in the country, France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs announced on Wednesday.

Two flights have already departed from Niamey in Niger, carrying French nationals as well as citizens from elsewhere in the European Union.

The ministry noted that more than 510 people were on the evacuation flights. A third flight is also scheduled as part of the evacuation operations.

According to the ministry, France has some 1,200 registered nationals living in Niger. About 600 of these citizens have expressed their wish to be evacuated.

Speaking to French news channel BFMTV on Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna confirmed that France will not carry out a military intervention in Niger.

Last Wednesday, Niger’s Defense and Security Forces said that soldiers in the country had overthrown the president Mohamed Bazoum, just hours after he was allegedly held hostage.

Two days later, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, former leader of Niger’s presidential guard, was named “president of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland”.

He subsequently signed an order to suspend the Constitution and dissolve the government, empowering the Council to exercise all legislative and executive authorities.

Bazoum assumed office in 2021 after winning the elections in Niger. Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Niger has witnessed four coups.

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